Chinese Pompeii 300m Year Old Forest

Chinese Pompeii 300m Year Old Forest, Chinese Pompeii 300m-year-old forest preserved in ash, Researchers have unearthed a forest in northern China preserved under a layer of ash deposited 300 million years ago.

Preservation of the forest, just west of the Inner Mongolian district of Wuda, has been likened to that of the Italian city of Pompeii.

The researchers were able to "reconstruct" nearly 1,000 sq m of the forest's trees and plant distributions.

This rare insight into how the region once looked is described in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The excavations sampled three sites across a large expanse that was covered with about a metre of ash.

Due to the pristine preservation of some of the plants, the team estimate the ash fell over the course of just a few days, felling and damaging some of the trees and plants under its weight but otherwise keeping them intact.

"It's marvelously preserved," said study co-author Hermann Pfefferkorn of the University of Pennsylvania in the US.

"We can stand there and find a branch with the leaves attached, and then we find the next branch and the next branch and the next branch. And then we find the stump from the same tree. That's really exciting."

The team identified six groups of trees, ranging from low-lying tree ferns to now-extinct 25m trees Sigillaria and Cordaites, as well well-preserved specimens of another extinct group called Noeggerathiales.

Read more: bbc
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