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Earth PhOtOs-Diver Finds 10,000-Year-Old FOREST Under North Sea

Diver Finds 10,000-Year-Old FOREST Which Originally Stretched as Far as Europe Hidden Under the North Sea

  • Diver Dawn Watson found incredible ancient forest under the North Sea
  • The 45-year-old discovered oak trees with eight-metre branches off Norfolk
  • 10,000-year-old trees appear to have been hidden underwater since Ice Age
  • Experts believe pre-historic forest uncovered during recent stormy weather
  • Ms Watson said she was 'absolutely thrilled' with find off Cley next the Sea
Daily Mail UK, 26 January 2015

A shocked diver has found an incredible 10,000-year-old pre-historic forest under the North Sea and experts believe it could have once stretched as far as Europe.

Diver Dawn Watson, 45, discovered the remarkable 'lost forest' when she was diving just 300 metres off the coast of Cley next the Sea, Norfolk.
She found complete oak trees with branches measuring eight metres long under the sea and experts believe they have been hidden off the coast of Norfolk since the Ice Age.
The forest is believed to have become exposed following the stormy weather last winter.

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Diver Dawn Watson, 45, discovered the remarkable 'lost forest' when she was diving just 300 metres off the coast of Cley next the Sea, Norfolk. Experts say the trees have been hidden in the North Sea since the Ice Age





The 45-year-old, who has been diving in the North Sea for about 16 years, said she was 'absolutely thrilled' to find the ancient oak trees. She said: 'You certainly don't expect to go out for a quick dive and find a forest'


Ms Watson, who runs the Marine Conservation Society's survey project, Seasearch in East Anglia with partner Rob Spray, said she was 'absolutely thrilled' with the find.

She said: 'I couldn't believe what I was seeing at first.
'The sea was quite rough by the shore so I decided to dive slightly further out and after swimming over 300 metres of sand I found a long blackened ridge.
'When I looked more closely I realised it was wood and when I swam further along I started finding whole tree trunks with branches on top, which looked like they had been felled.

'It was amazing to find and to think the trees had been lying there completely undiscovered for thousands of years. You certainly don't expect to go out for a quick dive and find a forest.'

Ms Watson, who has been diving in the North Sea for about 16 years, said the trees are thought to have formed part of a huge forest, measuring thousands of acres.

But it is believed the forest was drowned when the ice caps melted and the sea level rose 120 metres.
The fallen trees are now lying on the ground where they have formed a natural reef, which is teaming with colourful fish, plants and wildlife.





The prehistoric forest was discovered off the coast of Cley next to the Sea in Norfolk, pictured





It is believed the forest was drowned when the ice caps melted and the sea level rose 120 metres. The trees are now lying on the ground, where they have formed a natural reef, which is teaming with fish and plants





The incredible forest is believed to have become exposed following the stormy weather last winter


'At one time it would have been a full-blown Tolkein-style forest, stretching for hundreds of miles,' added Mr Spray, who has begun surveying the forest with his partner.
'It would have grown and grown and in those days there would have been no one to fell it so the forest would have been massive.
'It would have looked like a scene from the Hobbit or Lord of the Rings, which is something we don't get in this country anymore. Geologists are very excited about it, it was a really miraculous find.'

The pair now hope that radio carbon dating will be carried out on the trees to discover exactly how long the forest has been there.
Mr Spray said: 'We plan to do more dives so we can map the forest and get an idea of its size and scale.





It is hoped radio carbon dating will now be carried out on the trees to discover how long they have been there





Ms Watson said the trees are thought to have formed part of a huge forest, measuring thousands of acres


'It is extremely exciting as it may be hiding lots of undiscovered fossils of mammoths and sea creatures.'

The forest bed is at the start of the chalk reef which forms the proposed Cromer Shoal Marine Conservation Zone just to the East.
It is also near the Norfolk Wildlife Trust's Cley Marshes reserve, which is famous for birdlife.
The area became a popular dive spot for the wildlife on a nearby wreck, the Vera which sank in 1914.

Last year, ancient forests were exposed along the Welsh coastline after the storms washed away peat and exposed gnarled tree trunks on the shore near the village of Borth, Ceredigion in Mid Wales.





5,000-Year-Old Forest Unearthed by Storms in Wales (Related)

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