Recent Plants Found Under Greenland Ice
Plant materials in an ice core cannot be a million years old. They look like they were buried in the recent past.
A rediscovered ice core dug in 1966 is shocking scientists. A mile under the Greenland ice sheet—which is supposed to be 2.6 million Darwin Years old—twigs and leaves of modern plants have been found. This discovery has ramifications for geological dating and also for climate change politics. PhysOrg 15 March 2021 describes the stunned reaction of scientists from the University of Vermont.
In 1966, US Army scientists drilled down through nearly a mile of ice in northwestern Greenland—and pulled up a fifteen-foot-long tube of dirt from the bottom. Then this frozen sediment was lost in a freezer for decades. It was accidentally rediscovered in 2017.
In 2019, University of Vermont scientist Andrew Christ looked at it through his microscope—and couldn’t believe what he was seeing: twigs and leaves instead of just sand and rock. That suggested that the ice was gone in the recent geologic past—and that a vegetated landscape, perhaps a boreal forest, stood where a mile-deep ice sheet as big as Alaska stands today.
The scientists can say that the plant materials are less than one million Darwin Years old by postulating that the ice sheet melted that long ago during an “interglacial” period, allowing for a forest to flourish for awhile before the ice sheet grew back again. Maybe Greenland was ice free a few hundred thousand Darwin Years ago, they say, based on indirect evidence that is “hotly debated and poorly understood.” But another surprise discovery is that in all this coming-and-going of ice and glaciers, the plant material showed no sign of pulverization. Look at the reaction of Andrew Christ:
“Ice sheets typically pulverize and destroy everything in their path,” says Christ, “but what we discovered was delicate plant structures—perfectly preserved. They’re fossils, but they look like they died yesterday. It’s a time capsule of what used to live on Greenland that we wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else.”
Live Science includes photos of some of the plant material—twigs, leaves and moss that look familiar. “Traces of leaf waxes in the core sediments resembled those of present-day tundra ecosystems in Greenland, according to the study.” They do not look like fossils; they look fresh. Something seems clearly wrong with the dating methods they used. Researchers said that they “look like they died yesterday.”
When scientists investigated the core in 2019 they discovered fragments of fossilized plants that may have bloomed a million years ago. Greenland’s present ice cover was thought to be nearly 3 million years old, but the tiny plant fragments say otherwise, showing that at some point within the last million years — possibly within the last few hundred thousand years — much of Greenland was ice-free.
That’s a dating error of at least 1,000%. Will anybody be fired? Probably not. Scientists are among the few who work in professions where they can be drastically wrong and still keep their jobs. They just act surprised and excited about the discovery, look busy, and make up new stories to explain away the old falsified stories.
“When we found the fossils, it was one of those science ‘Eureka!’ moments, it was totally unexpected,” Christ told Live Science. As they rinsed the frozen soil to sort it into different-size grains, they noticed “little black things” floating in the water. Christ put some of the floating specks under a microscope, “and boom! There were fossil twigs and leaves in this frozen sediment,” Christ said. “The best way to describe them is freeze-dried. When we pulled these out and put a little water on them, they kind of unfurled, so they looked like they died yesterday.”
Such plants — possibly from a boreal forest — could grow on Greenland only if the island’s ice sheet were mostly gone, so the next step was figuring out how recently that happened, the study authors wrote.
The earlier scientists didn’t do a very good job figuring that out last time. Here is the new narrative scenario to get around the falsification:
Based on geologic records and ocean geochemistry, scientists [had] estimated Greenland’s present ice sheet persisted at more or less the same size for about 2.6 million years, the study authors wrote. However, their new findings show that ice vanished almost entirely from Greenland during at least one period in the island’s most recent deep freeze, presenting a previously unknown threshold for ice sheet stability.
Political Science Intrudes
A benefit of the new story is that they can now tie it in with concerns about climate change. Why, though, are they troubled that Greenland’s ice loss somehow portends disaster coming from global warming today? If all the ice was gone by natural causes back then, shouldn’t the earth survive another warming? Oh, but this time it will be irreversible, they claim. And all that ice loss puts all the coastal cities in peril: “The rate of ice-sheet melting and recovery in the past provides clues to how much Greenland’s shrinking ice sheet might contribute to sea-level rise in a warming climate,” Nature warns (but see ending of our 7 March 2021 entry about failed predictions of other climate disasters).
The paper by Andrew Christ and 17 other scientists is published in the PNAS 30 March 2021 edition, but was posted online March 15. No apologies are given for the scientists being 1,000% wrong. No mentions are given that the old view was false, wrong, or misleading to the public and students. The title announces: “A multimillion-year-old record of Greenland vegetation and glacial history preserved in sediment beneath 1.4 km of ice at Camp Century,” but they’re saying the fossils are less than a million Darwin Years old. Some of the materials still had radiocarbon, indicating a maximum age of 100,000 years. (One twig yielded an age of 50,000 years or more, although there was possible contamination in the microscopic sample.) Radiocarbon should have been undetectable in 100,000 years.
More Plants in the Arctic
A related paper published the same day (PNAS, 15 March 2021) by Sarah Crump and 12 other scientists announces, “Ancient plant DNA reveals High Arctic greening during the Last Interglacial.” This paper is notable for claiming a new record for fossil plant DNA. They found the ancient DNA at a time when trees and shrubs grew in the Arctic, claiming it was about 120,000 Darwin Years ago.
Ancient plant DNA in lake sediment from this time reveals major ecosystem changes in response to warmth, including an ∼400 km northward shift of dwarf birch relative to today. Enhanced shrub cover, corroborated by molecular and microfossil analyses, amplified warming during the Last Interglacial and will likely play a similar role in the future. This record constitutes the oldest authenticated plant DNA from lake sediment yet reported, increasing the technique’s temporal potential.
DNA of fossil pollen from a variety of trees and shrubs was analyzed for the research. The authors realize that “DNA damage is known to accumulate through time in lake sediments,” so the claim of 120,000 years appears questionable. It is based on radiometric dating of sediments, and assumptions about the geologic column, but how can one know if DNA will last that long?
Like the other paper, the authors find ways to insert opinions about current global warming into the message. “As the greening of the Arctic proceeds due to human-caused climate change,” the paper ends, “precise and detailed paleoecological records from past warm periods are essential to anticipate the extent of future greening.” Actually, future greening sounds nice for a continent now buried under a mile of ice. Maybe farmers can help feed the world with all that currently-useless land.
See also our 11 March 2021 entry about fossil wood in the Antarctic.
The evidence appears to fit a global Flood model. The plant materials are tiny pieces of pollen or twigs and bits of leaves. They could have been transported onto the land, buried in sediment and then covered with ice in the single Ice Age that followed the Flood. If so, then it was just a few thousand years ago, not a million or more. Is it not remarkable to find intact plant DNA from lake sediment? That’s another piece of evidence that the plants and the ice sheet are younger than believed by evolutionist moyboys who cannot think outside of the geologic column.
After global warming has been debunked some future day, will the authors of thousands of papers have to go back and take out the references to “anthropogenic global warming” that pervade science literature? Maybe, but probably not until trillions of dollars have been spent trying to fight the mythical dragon. Just remember that these scientists freely confess that the Arctic, Antarctic and Greenland survived lengthy periods of warm times, and the earth survived just fine, including butterflies, frogs, and all the other delicate creatures that the global warmists are so concerned about going extinct because of our climate sins. God has ways of taking care of his green Earth that He designed for life.