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Jul 10, 2013 10:12 AM by Stephen Bowers

Bald Cypress forest discovered... beneath the Gulf of Mexico

A report from LiveScience says scuba divers have discovered a forest never before seen, and it lies beneath about 60 feet of water off the Alabama Coast. The photo above was contributed to LiveScience by Dave Carlton.

The primeval Bald Cypress forest is said to have been buried beneath sediment for at least 50,000 years. Because it has been buried and without oxygen, the trees have been well preserved and even still smell like cypress when cut.

The forest has become an artificial reef, and sea life of all kinds are living throughout this forest. 

Researchers from the University of Southern Mississippi and Louisiana State University are just beginning to study the underwater Cypress forest, but they say carbon dating suggests the trees are close to 52,000 years old. They also say growth rings of the trees could reveal thousands of years of climate history.

They believe the sediment that covered the submarine forest may have been moved by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, helping to uncover the Bald Cypress trees.

 

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