50-million year old tree fossil uncovered in Canadian diamond mine

A 50 million year old fossil has been uncovered in the Ekati diamond mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories.

The fossilized piece of redwood was preserved by solidified magma from a prehistoric eruption, and indicates that Canada’s frigid north was once host to a far warmer climate which permitted rich forest growth.

According to Live Science the fossil was uncovered 315 meters below the Earth’s surface in a kimberlite pipe – a volcanic pipe formed when magma pushes through fractures in the Earth’s crust and which is a frequent source of diamond deposits.

Scientists say the site of the mine, which is located just south of the Arctic Circle, would have once been covered with a forest of prehistoric redwoods, some of which were engulfed by an eruption of magma from deep below the earth’s surface over 50 million years ago.

The specimen is believed to be the oldest of its type ever uncovered in the region, exceeding northern Canada’s Axel Heiberg fossil forest by millions of years in age.