380-Million years old Tropical Fossil Forests discovered in Arctic Norway

A fossilized forest dated 380 million years ago has been discovered in Norway, and it has been linked climate change. The purported forest was discovered by a team of UK researchers. There was a 15 fold drop in CO2 levels during the latter part of a period known as the Devonian period.

The period between 416 and 358 million years ago is known as the Devonian period. It was in this period that the Earth’s first large trees started appearing. Researchers have concluded that tree growth must have scrubbed CO2 from the atmosphere and must have led to the cooling effect that happened during the Devonian period. The researchers discovered that the fossilized forest was composed mainly of lycopodium trees.

The discovery was made in an ancient forest in Svalbard, which are a group of Norwegian islands located in the Arctic Ocean. The forest caught the attention of Chris Berry from Cardiff University, who is also the co-researcher of the study. Berry had heard about the forest from a German colleague who had worked there and was eager to work there where many stumps were still very much evident.

Berry said that he in the past has been observing fragmented fossils and then assembling them to create whole plants. However finding stumps is a different story and can provide a wealth of information about the ecology.

Berry said that they have discovered one of the first forests in a place that is used to preserve the planet’s plant diversity. The fossil forests revealed how the landscape and the vegetation were like some 380 million years ago when trees started appearing.

Researchers believe that the forest grew near the equator in the late Devonian period. Svalbard was located near the equator millions of years ago before tectonic activity shifted it Northwards to where it is located today.