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No. 84: Nov-Dec 1992

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A Permian Polar Forest

"An in situ Upper Permian fossil forest in the central Transantarctic Mountains near the Beardmore Glacier includes 15 permineralized trunks in growth position; the paleolatitude of the site was approximately 80 to 85 south. Numerous leaves of the seed fern Glossopteris are present in the shale in which the trunks are rooted. The trunks are perminealized and tree rings reveal that the forest was a rapidly growing and young forest, persisting in an equable, strongly seasonal climate -- a scenario that does not fit with some climate reconstructions for this time period."

Some models of the Permian climate, based on astronomical and meteorological parameters, have winter temperatures at the site averaging -30 to -40C, with the average summer temperature at merely 0C. This fossil forest is clearly at odds with these models.

(Taylor, Edith L., et al; "The Present Is Not the Key to the Past: A Polar Forest from the Permian of Antarctica," Science, 257:1675, 1992.)

From Science Frontiers #84, NOV-DEC 1992. 1992-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987