Ice Age Forest Gives a Global Warning
Fox News, Feb. 25, 2000
The discovery of a forest 11,000 years old buried intact in Michigan, with tree tops poking through the sand, has raised alarm about the possible speed of global warming. The five-acre forest of hundreds of spruce, just over ten miles from the shore of Lake Superior, was covered with sand and water when a nearby glacier melted at the end of the Ice Age. What has shocked scientists is that analysis of the tree-rings shows that the climate warmed so rapidly that it left no mark on the normal growth of the trees before they were flooded. "It's kind of scary. The conclusion, based on the tree rings, is that there was no real warning of the dramatic warming that caused the glacier to melt," Theodore Bornhorst, Professor of Geology at Michigan Technological University, said. "The question today is whether we would get no warning of a real dramatic warming. "What it says is that, in 50 years' time, we could have a dramatic shift in climate," he said. "If the ice cap started melting, sea levels would rise dramatically, with major problems for coastal cities."
The first of the ancient trees were noticed sticking up from the ground on Michigan's Upper Peninsula two decades ago, but it was only when workmen began quarrying the area for sand two years ago that the forest was found. An academic working with the quarrying company on another project alerted staff at Michigan Technological University, who drained and excavated the site to find the trees still standing. "We just saw these trees, out of the sand. As we started to clear the sand, you could see the bark on them and the little limbs. It was incredible," Professor Bornhorst said.