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Retreating Juneau Glacier Reveals 1200 Year Old Trees

September 19, 2013

By Paul Homewood


h/t Ice Age Now




As the Juneau Glacier retreats in Alaska, geologists are finding the remains of ancient forests, dating from various periods between 2350 and 1200 years ago.

The Juneau Empire reports:


The Mendenhall Glacier’s recession is unveiling the remains of ancient forests that have remained frozen beneath the ice for up to 2,350 years.

UAS Professor of Geology and Environmental Science Program Coordinator Cathy Connor said she and others have been tracking the emergence of the forests’ remains. Some stumps and logs can be found in the moraines around the west side of the glacier. Some remain vertical, frozen to the ground in ice caves. Some are scoured smooth; some still have their bark. All are packed with silt in the outer layers.

As the glacier advanced, it snapped off the tops of the trees in its path, Connor said. The stumps were buried — and protected — in gravel.

Now, as the glacier melts, the melt water carves out paths in that gravel, revealing the remains of the trees.

The most recent stumps she’s dated emerging from the Mendenhall are between 1,400 and 1,200 years old. The oldest she’s tested are around 2,350 years old. She’s also dated some at around 1,870 to 2,000 years old.


This is yet more evidence of warmer times, not only in the MWP, but further back. It also complements similar findings in the Exit Glacier of Alaska and glaciers in Patagonia.

  1. September 19, 2013 10:48 pm

    So wait a minute. 2000 years ago there was a forest where the glacier was but man wasn’t creating CO2…. Hmmmmmm

  2. September 19, 2013 11:19 pm

    Reblogged this on CraigM350 and commented:
    The hockey stick debunked by observation.

  3. Brian H permalink
    September 20, 2013 1:40 am

    Once upon a time, we had a nice, warm climate.

  4. September 22, 2013 9:35 am

    I recall reading about the same sort of discovery occurring on the east coast of Greenland, where the land is currently stark and treeless. The article came out something like five years ago, and then I never heard any follow-up.

    Forgive me my paranoia, but I get the feeling such discoveries are not welcomed with open arms. However my mind snaps on them like an alligator, due to my interest in how the heck the Vikings survived so long in Greenland.

    So of course I noticed the mentioning, “The most recent stumps she’s dated emerging from the Mendenhall are between 1,400 and 1,200 years old.” If that warm period extended around the planet to Greenland, it would be before the Vikings got to Greenland, but such a period of warmth would make sure Greenland was nice and green when Vikings got there.

    In fact that is the impression I often get: That the Vikings arrived at the very end of the good times.

    Nice site you got here.

  5. October 17, 2013 5:10 am

    Those ages would have been pretty much during the Roman Warm Period – which by most accounts was warmer than the Medieval Warm Period. And that does not even take into account the Holocene Climate Optimum. THAT lasted about 4,000 years – and without killing all the humans and plants and animals. It was called “Climatic Optimum.” I wonder why. (No, I don’t.)

    I love your observation that the trees obviously grew in a period at least as warm as now.

    But we should also take note how it got colder, even after such a warm period.

    This all highlights the natural variability that has existed, even in non-industrial times And the world SURVIVED.

    @caleb – Yeah, to put it into perspective, the Vikings lasted in Greenland almost twice as long as the USA has existed as an independent country. From 986 AD to 1408 when the last dated event occurred. 422 years. Again for comparison, 2013 minus 422 = 1591. That is 16 years before the Jamestown colony. The Vikings were there THAT long – from Jamestown to now – and more.

    Pretty cool stuff, all of this.

  6. wally permalink
    February 23, 2016 6:09 am

    May be we should rename the current period to “THE CARBONOCENE”. The age of carbon phobia.


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