July 9, 2013
Scuba divers have discovered a primeval underwater forest off the coast of Alabama.
The Bald Cypress forest was buried under ocean sediments, protected in an oxygen-free environment for more than 50,000 years, but was likely uncovered by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, said Ben Raines, one of the first divers to explore the underwater forest and the executive director of the nonprofit Weeks Bay Foundation, which researches estuaries.
The forest contains trees so well-preserved that when they are cut, they still smell like fresh Cypress sap, Raines said.
The stumps of the Cypress trees span an area of at least 0.5 square miles (0.8 kilometers), several miles from the coast of Mobile, Ala., and sit about 60 feet (18 meters) below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico.
This article was posted: Tuesday, July 9, 2013 at 4:33 am