Chinese ‘Pompeii’ threatened by coal mine

A forest of fossils that is being compared to a “vegetational Pompeii” is under threat from coal mining, says a story in China Daily.

According to the English-language news site, scientists working in the Wuda district of Inner Mongolia have discovered a forest buried by a volcanic eruption almost 300 years ago.

The paleobotanists from the Nanjing institue of Geology and Paleontology are seeking to protect the area, but there is a problem: the forest lies underneath an active open-pit coal mine:

Officials are still studying (Wang Jun’s) proposal, which includes a detailed map of the area. However, he warned: “If no action is taken, the whole area might be gone in a short time. In the future, we may not be able to provide any actual proof that this vegetational Pompeii existed.”

China Daily notes that Wuda, currently a dry and windy climate, 298 million years ago was a river delta:

Back then, North and South China appeared as two large islands, respectively, in a tropical ocean, and North America and Europe were fused together.

“It was a catastrophe going back 298 million years ago in Wuda,” said Wang. A sudden volcano erupted more than 100 kilometers away from the forest, killing all the plants
nearby.

Continue reading at China Daily

Photo by Shutterstock: Gravestones with stone statues at the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, which was destroyed and buried during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.

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