Canadian Fossilised Forest to Bounce Back to Life by 2100 Due to Climate Change
The far northern province of Canada known as Nunavut (pronounced none-of-it) is currently a largely barren land but the global warming may again bring greenery to the area.
A new claim made by the researchers from the University of Montreal's Department of Geography says the fossilized 2.6 to 3 million years old forest on Bylot Island in Nunavut could one day return.
This discovery of the forests in Canada's extreme north was made by Alexandre Guertin-Pasquier of the University of Montreal's Department of Geography, who is presenting his findings at the Canadian Paleontology Conference in Toronto.
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"According to the data model, climate conditions on Bylot Island will be able to support the kinds of trees we find in the fossilized forest that currently exist there, such as willow, pine and spruce. I've also found evidence of a possible growth of oak and hickory near the study site during this period," Guertin-Pasquier said. "Although it would of course take time for a whole forest to regrow, the findings show that our grandchildren should be able to plant a tree and watch it grow."
The estimation of this forest was made based on the presence of extinct species and on paleomagnetic analyses.
The researchers have preserved the wood samples of the ancient forest throughout the eons in peat and by permafrost.
"We studied the sediments in the forest and discovered pollen that are usually found in climates where the annual average temperature is around 0 degrees Celsius or 32 Fahrenheit," Guertin-Pasquier said.
They noted that the present average conditions on Bylots Islands are 5 degree Fahrenheit. The researchers worked on samples that were taken from few drill holes 10 cm in diameter of one of two metres deep. Due to sever Arctic winter and isolation the scientists are having a problem to delve into their finding.
Guertin-Pasquier and his colleagues had to endure extreme conditions such as 80 km/h winds. "There is so much mystery that surrounds this forest, for example, how these trees managed to survive the relentless dark of the Arctic winter," he said, " the next steps for this line of research could include looking more closely at other plant remains in order to get a better understanding of what the local flora was."