A 40,000-year-old log has been discovered in a New Zealand wetland, and it may hold the key to solving Earth’s climate puzzle.
A mystery worldwide event that may have profoundly impacted the Earth’s climate might be explained by a 45,000-year-old log uncovered during excavations for a new power plant.
New Zealand scientists believe the 60-tonne wood might hold the answers to the 40,000-year-old Laschamp Event, when the earth’s north and south poles reversed places.
The 60-tonne Kauri wood was discovered nine meters beneath the surface in February in Ngwh, New Zealand’s north island, and was handed over to local Maoris on Wednesday following a big excavation.
Top Energy, the business building the power plant, started digging in 2017 and had dug 900,000 cubic meters of dirt before hitting the 16-meter log.
According to the NZ Herald, scientist Alan Hogg of Waikato University found that the tree is 40,500 years old.
The age of the gigantic log piqued scientists’ interest in the Laschamp Event, a’magnetic reversal’ in which the Earth’s north and south magnetic poles swapped places.
The exact date of the reversal is unknown, however it is assumed to have occurred around 41,000 years ago.
Scientists anticipate that by examining the amount of radioactive carbon in the tree’s rings, they will be able to estimate when and for how long the reversal happened.
The magnetic reversals — and the following decline in the Earth’s magnetic field strength, which enabled more solar radiation to reach the Earth’s surface — are thought to have a substantial impact on climate, according to Kiwi experts.
‘This tree is vital; we’ve never found one of this age before,’ says the researcher. Mr. Hogg claims that discovering the tree was a lucky break that will be crucial in future studies.
Mr Hogg estimated that the tree was between 1500 and 2000 years old when it perished, based on its size.
On Wednesday, the 16-metre log was delivered to the neighboring Ngwh Marae (holy site), where a ceremony was performed to welcome the old tree to the hap’s care (a division of Maoris).
Richard Woodman, chairman of the Ngwh Trustees group, called Shaw’s decision to restore the tree to its original owners rather than gift it a “wonderful acknowledgement.”
The tree needed pieces of around 1.5m long to be hacked off on either end so it could be relocated, and the stump alone weighed 28 tonnes, so transporting it was a huge undertaking.
Two 130-tonne cranes hoisted the three parts, which were then transported along the highway by truck five kimoleters in four hours.