Herself's Houston Garden

Conservation through cultivation

Antarctic fossils show a much warmer continent




National Science Foundation-funded scientists working in an ice-free region of Antarctica have discovered the last traces of tundra–in the form of fossilized plants and insects–on the interior of the southernmost continent before temperatures began a relentless drop millions of years ago.

An abrupt and dramatic climate cooling of 8 degrees Celsius, over a relatively brief period of geological time roughly 14 million years ago, forced the extinction of tundra plants and insects and tranformed the interior of Antarctica into a perpetual deep-freeze from which it has never emerged. . . [ read more Anatarctic fossils paint a picture of a much warmer climate]

14 million years ago, the Antarctic temperatures dropped 46’F over a period of 200,000 years killing off the mosses, early plants and animals leaving us the frozen continent we have today.

Interestingly many of the mosses and algae have survived to continue to grow on Earth to this day. And of considerable important to us now is that even during the warming spell that occurred 3.5 million years ago, when temperatures were much warmer than they are now, much of the ice remained.