Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Prehistoric Forest Emerges From Farmer's Pond

Date:
December 1, 2007
Source:
Michigan Technological University
Summary:
A farm owner thought he'd struck a fine bargain with the Michigan Department of Transportation. MDOT would get fill for nearby highway construction by dredging a pond on his farm near Arnheim, Mich., and he would get the pond. Nobody expected to find a prehistoric forest too. But that's exactly what they uncovered, about 15 feet down.

Some of the logs believed to have been deposited by the last glacier to melt across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan more than 10,000 years ago.
Credit: Michigan Technological University

Dennis Myllyla thought he’d struck a fine bargain with the Michigan Department of Transportation. MDOT would get fill for nearby highway construction by dredging a pond on his farm near Arnheim, Mich., and Myllyla would get the pond.

Neither Myllyla nor MDOT expected to find a prehistoric forest too. But that’s exactly what they uncovered, about 15 feet down.

“We ran into logs, lots of logs. It was like a forest down there,” said Myllyla, who has been farming in the Arnheim area since 1948.

Forestry consultant Justin Miller was on site when the MDOT heavy equipment operators found themselves dredging up more logs than sand. Miller, who had been preparing a management plan for the forested sections of Myllyla’s property, was a 2000 graduate of Michigan Technological University’s School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, and he knew just whom to call.

“I’ll rush right down and take a look,” James Schmierer responded. The forester from Michigan Tech was there within 24 hours.

What he saw amazed him. “We find a lot of trees lying on the forest floor, but this was the first time I’ve seen so many trees thousands of years old and so well preserved in the soil,” he said. Dozens were tangled together, some of them 20 feet long and more than 2 feet in diameter.

“What could bury a whole forest 15 feet underground?” Schmierer wondered. “It had to be a single catastrophic, violent event, and it must have happened a long time ago for 15 feet of soil to build up.”

Schmierer and his colleague, Michael Hyslop, a GIS analyst and instructor of geomorphology and vegetation at Michigan Tech, speculate that the trees were either transported or mowed down by the last glacier to move across the Keweenaw, before Lake Superior covered the peninsula. “That would make them more than 10,000 years old,” he said.

Schmierer and Hyslop have recovered some of the logs and are hoping to carbon-date them. Schmierer also hopes to identify the species of tree.

“If I had to guess, I’d say it was an elm,” said Miller, “but I really don’t know. I’ll be real curious to find out how old they are and what species.”

Schmierer plans to make two displays from chunks of the ancient trees, one to put on exhibit at Alberta Village, the Michigan Tech School of Forestry’s field site, and the other for the atrium of the U.J. Noblet Forestry Building on campus.

“And Michigan Tech is going to give me one as a momento,” said Myllyla.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Michigan Technological University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Michigan Technological University. "Prehistoric Forest Emerges From Farmer's Pond." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 December 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071130163440.htm>.
Michigan Technological University. (2007, December 1). Prehistoric Forest Emerges From Farmer's Pond. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 15, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071130163440.htm
Michigan Technological University. "Prehistoric Forest Emerges From Farmer's Pond." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071130163440.htm (accessed September 15, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, September 15, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — New conservation measures for shark fishing face an uphill PR battle in the fight to slow shark extinction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) — A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — In a small study, researchers found that the majority of long-time smokers quit after taking psilocybin pills and undergoing therapy sessions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spinosaurus Could Be First Semi-Aquatic Dinosaur

Spinosaurus Could Be First Semi-Aquatic Dinosaur

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — New research has shown that the Spinosaurus, the largest carnivorous dinosaur, might have been just as well suited for life in the water as on land. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:  

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile iPhone Android Web
    Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins