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Mummified Walnut Trees

6 July 2024
Biology, Catastrophism, Geology, Palaeontology

At https://phys.org/news/2024-06-extinct-walnut-species-high-arctic.html … three new extinct walnut species have been discovered in a high arctic mummified foreest. It is situated on the Princess Margaret Mountians of Axel Helburg Island – inside the Arctic Circle. The fossils were discovered further north than any other walnut species. At the present time, Axel Helburg Island, in Canada, is a frozen desert – but 45 million years ago it supported a lush rainforest on the shore of what is now the Arctic Ocean. The forest was subsequently buried under layers of sediment – then covered in ice, somewhat later.

The stumps of trees are still rooted in soil. Fossilised soil. They are today found 3000 km north of any other living tree. It is assumed the poles have never moved and that 45 million years ago the earth, as a whole, was much warmer than it is now. They go on to blame co2 in the atmosphere in a warming world. What will such geologists do when. or if it is found co2 has a negligible effect on climate?

Sticking to the theme of geology and the concept of geological time, at https://phys.org/news/2024-06-pinnacles-deep-termite-mounds.html … a natural limestone formation 356 km north of Perth in Australia, goes back to around 25,000 years ago. The Pinnacles number in their thousands – many of them in Nambung National Park. These odd formations are the result of geological processes, we are told. In the Pleistocene the earth see-sawed between ice ages and warm interglacial episodes. On 8 occasions we are told. Others have more than 8 – but it doesn’t matter. This was the era of megafauna. They appear to have survived these fluctuations – along with the Neanderthals and Denisovans.

The Tamala limestone is a long ribbon of rock that outcrops along the western Australian coastline between Shark Bay and Albany. We are told the Tamala limestone consists of quartz sand and marine shells, in the main. The animals that lived in the shells lived and died during the Pleistocene, They go on to outline the uniformitarian timescale of the accumulation of the Tamala deposit – the sea coming and going as sea levels went up and down, advancing and retreating. At one time they were thought to be fossilised termite mounds, or even petrified trees. However, up close the Pinnacles can sometimes be seen as hollow – and others have a tombstone quality about them. Solid, and set like concrete. Shells are the most common feature and presumably provided the limestone element. However, they also contain petrified roots and branches of trees and shrubs. At a later stage in their existence, softer rock, it is suggested, in between the individual pinnacles, or columns, was washed away. This is dated to around 25,000 years ago, an estimation. In fact, if the Tamala formation was itself laid down quickly, as a tsunami event, then at a later point in time another tsunami swung in from the Indian Ocean and washed out the assumed softer parts of the formation. However, the date of 25,000 years ago is at the height of the Late Glacial Maximum. It doesn’t correspond with a ‘known’ event horizon.

This is reminiscent of geology along the chalk escarpment in southern England. Put down to melt waters following the end of the Late Glacial Maximum. On the vale at the bottom of the escarpment, water has washed away the geology down to the Oxford Clay. Bits of the overload however have survived on isolated hills and ridges – just as with the Pinnacles. This presumably occurred in one event – although I suppose multiple events could be involved. The problem here, as with the Pinnacles, is that we are talking about a rush of water much greater than an ordinary tsunami incident.

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