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Issuance of the first global map of the most important coastal, coastal protection projects


Coal remains reveal wildfires raged in Antarctica 75 million years ago


Antarctica is known as the coldest, driest and windiest continent in the world, but millions of years ago, Antarctica had much warmer weather than modern times, and its forests were full of animals.

Forests and fires
Huge iceberg breaks off Antarctica's western shelf
According to a report published in the journal "Live Science", James Ross Island, located near the northeastern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, was home to a diverse group in the Late Cretaceous period (from 100 million to 66 million years ago). Of the dinosaurs that lived in temperate forests, including pine trees, ferns, and flowering plants known as angiosperms.

But these forests were not safe from fires. In 2015, a previous study published in the journal Palaeogeography, palaeoclimatology, and palaeoecology revealed the first evidence that wildfires in West Antarctica were being ignited by volcanic activity. In the upper Cretaceous period.
The researchers stated that the remains of charred wood they found belong to pine trees that were growing in Antarctica in the late Cretaceous period.

It concluded a recent study published last month in the journal "Polar Research" (Polar research) that forest fires were more common in Antarctica than we thought previously.

The international team of researchers involved in the study analyzed fossils collected in 2015 from James Ross Island. These fossils included plant fragments that looked like charcoal remains over millions of years old.

Scanning electron microscopy images revealed that these fragments, which are no more than 38 millimeters long, are the remains of burnt plants, most likely belonging to the Araucaria tree, which belongs to the conifer family. The researchers pointed out that forest fires affected most of the continental masses in the world in the late Cretaceous period.

The division of the Great Continent of Gondwana
The Cretaceous period witnessed the splitting of the supercontinent Gondwana, which included Antarctica. In this small and isolated continent, the factors that contribute to the ignition of fires, such as the abundance of flammable plants, the abundance of sources of ignition of fires such as lightning, fireballs, volcanic activities, and high levels of oxygen in the atmosphere were available in this small and isolated continent.

The researchers stated that the fossils found in the layers of the earth indicate that Antarctica witnessed intense volcanic activity in the Cretaceous period, due to the movement of tectonic plates.
It is likely that volcanic eruptions ignited forest fires that left coal fragments found in Cretaceous sediments.

The researchers concluded that the new discovery confirms the spread of forest fires south of the prehistoric supercontinent of Gondwana, and that Antarctica was home to the araucaria trees whose charred remains were found.

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