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A forest on the Caribbean sea floor

24 March 2013

At http://blog.al.com/wire/2013/03/ancient_underwater_forest_off.html … an underwater forest has been found ten miles off shore of Alabama – and scuba divers have come up with pieces of wood that have apparently been dated, but how sea water might affect those dates is unclear for the moment and what methodology was used. The commenters at the end of the article claimed it was C14 methodology and others claim it was evidence of a Biblical flood event. It is unlikely to have happened slowly as in the uniformitarian model and a tsunami event may have been involved, or a sudden swing in sea level (for whatever reason). The scientists that have become involved intend to do some further work on dating – by taking cores from the tree remains. Currently, it has been dated at around 50,000 years ago, which was a bit of a surprise. The wood is well preserved in spite of being on the sea bed of the Gulf of Mexico all that time. The anwer to the enigma here is that the forest had been buried, presumably in an instant, by a thick layer of sand – but has recently been unearthed (and Hurricane Katrina is blamed). The trees were giant cypress and even some of the sap has survived – 60 feet down. The depth implies the sea level has risen by something like 60 to 100 feet since the forest was drowned and buried – or thrived on dry land. This has caused the scientists involved to do a spot of thinking as in their sea level model, presumably uniformitarian, the facts, or dates, do not fit the mapping on where the Gulf shoreline would have been at different points in the past. It doesn't occur to them that the mapping is based on a false assumption, that during ice ages the sea levels fall and during interglacials, it rises as the ice sheets and glaciers fade away.  Anyway, Louisianna is known to be sinking, and New Orleans is now below sea level, and it has always been thought the coast of Alabama and parts of Texas were also subject to sinking, too. They theorise that if one part of the coast is sinking another part of the coast might be rising and they suggest that it might be that the coast of Alabama has risen  and this accounts for the anomaly in their computer simulation. It's not the computer model in error – but the natural world that is not responding the way it should. However, the scuba divers will still be active and the scientists will eventually get their cores – more facts will emerge.

It is known that there were big changes in the Caribbean at the end of the Ice Age, with some remarkable inundations (as shown by the Bahamas sink holes), and presumably changes also occurred during the Ice Ages, and 50,000 years ago is not very far from the 40 to 30 thousand year period when lots of mammals died and the Neanderthals disappeared, etc. It may be that this sort of date will eventually be settled on – or one a bit older, around 70,000 years ago (also big changes).

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