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another submerged forest, this time in the Wash

27 January 2015

The Wash is a geographical feature in case anyone reading this is not aware of UK topography. It adjoins the Fens, a vast tract of marshland (now drained) on the North Sea coast, and when Dogger Land was in existence this whole area would have been at a higher elevation to the sea level of the period. There is plenty of evidence, geologically, that the Fens, during most of the Holocene, were high and dry. In other words, they have become marshland after around 3000BC – but it is not clear when exactly the land level in relation to the sea level dropped to the degree that seasonal inroads by the sea periodically flooded the dry land. Hence, the story below is just a provisional report and we can expect a more balanced and scientific view at some point in the future.

Gary Gilligan sent in the link at www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2925776/Shocked-diver-finds-amaz… … which relies on the story of Dogger Land, which was the southern basin of the North Sea, and dry land prior to 8000 years ago (the official date for the submergence, but not necessarily true as there is some evidence the sea level has gone up on occasions and fallen on other occasions, and averaging is not a point worth taking onboard). Hence, you need to read the story with a sceptic's eye – and realise the reporter may be young and largely unaware of previous finds of remnants of ancient forest discovered all around the coast of Britain over the last couple of hundred years. In fact, a video is included of submerged roots and stumps off Aberistwyth, dating back several thousand years – but nowhere near 10,000 years ago. And again, a submerged forest can be seen on the beach at Happisburgh, on the east coast of the North Sea, and again is mostly roots and stumps. This was formerly buried under deep geological deposits but as the cliffs have been falling over the years they have also been revealing geology from thousands of years ago. The Happisburgh submerged forest is dated 800,000 years ago – which absolutely dwarfs the date suggested by the newest submerged forest.

The beauty of this link are the photos, taken by the diver under the sea – and the video taken last year from Aberistwyth. If the forest goes back to Dogger Land it need date no earlier than 8000 years ago and therefore we can ignore the 10,000 years ago figure until C14 of the wood has been undertaken (in due course). Cley-on-the-Sea is worth a visit – but unless you are going to dive into the normally very cold North Sea you won't see a lot. You might see some seals swimming in the sea off the coast, and you might have a walk along the salt marsh. It sits in a pretty valley between two hills (becoming two cliffs near the sea) and there is the obligatory tea shop and no doubt a roadside kiosk selling freshly caught crabs (and the diver has actually taken a picture of a crab in a tree trunk hidey hole).


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