Ancient Cypress Forest Reveals Clues on Ice Age
‘The Underwater Forest’ documentary chronicles the scientists’ journey into the past
BATON ROUGE – A new documentary, “The Underwater Forest,” details the discovery and
exploration of an ancient cypress forest found 60 feet underwater in the Gulf of Mexico
off the coast of Alabama.
“Everything is in place in that ecosystem. It’s just been buried and preserved through time,” said LSU Department of Geography & Anthropology Associate Professor Kristine DeLong, who is one of the featured research scientists in the film by Ben Raines.
In the film, DeLong SCUBA dives the underwater forest, helps excavate it and analyzes samples of the wood and ancient pollen to find out how old the forest is. The forest dates back to an ice age about 60,000 years ago, when sea levels were about 400 feet lower than today. DeLong describes it as a colder, windier time approaching full glacial conditions.
“One thing paleoclimatologists want to understand about this period is, what was happening to different ecosystems? How was a bald cypress swamp responding to these changes in sea level, and it getting colder?” she said. “So far, it looks like all of the trees died at about the same time.”
LSU marine geologists and students deployed sonar to map the forest and a coastal profiler to collect sediment cores in search of more clues.
The film will air on Alabama Public Television on July 23 at 6 p.m. (EST) and July 24 at 9 p.m. (EST).
Downloadable clips for TV packages: https://vimeo.com/220954910
LSU has a video uplink studio with live broadcast capabilities. Contact us to set up an interview.
Contact Alison Satake
LSU Media Relations