Wednesday, June 29, 2011

New Study on Antarctica's Last Vegetation

A new study shows that the last vegetation disappeared from Antarctica approximately 12 million years ago. The study uses pollen fossils found deep in the seafloor. To get the fossils they drilled through 100 feet of the dense sedimentary rock on the seafloor off Antarctica.

The last vegetation in Antarctica was when there was a tundra environment along the northern peninsula of Antarctica. The peninsula was the last part to be covered with ice and the limited amount of tundra environment probably entirely disappeared about 12.8 million years ago.

The new study does show some interesting insight into the climate past of Antarctica, but I am confused about it saying the last vegetation was 12 million years ago. What about lichen? There is still that on the Antarctic peninsula and I was always under the impression that counted as vegetation, but I guess not.

Read more about this topic:
When Antarctica's Vegetation Vanished: Pollen Reveals Glacial History
Why so cold? The Last Refuge of Antarctica's Forests

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