Scientists have found evidence of the earliest forest fire in the history of the Earth. They are a small plant fossils preserved in the form of coal, which were excavated near the town of Ludlow researchers at the border of Wales. The remains belong to the Silurian period, 443-417 million years ago, officials said the University of Cardiff.
Previously known coal, refers only to the Devonian period, differ explosion of plant diversity. In the Silurian period, plants were small enough that it should limit the fuel for forest fires. Therefore, this cluster of vegetation (whether alive or already dead), which became the fuel for the fire, the scientists were surprised. Even more surprising was that the fire was started by lightning.
Fossils preserved their three-dimensional structure that is unique to the remains of the venerable age. In particular the optical properties of fossil researchers proved that the conversion of the plant material was in the coal. This is evidenced by the reduction of the outer cover plants. However, comparison of the optical properties of experimentally burned plants showed that these fossils have turned to coal only partially — that is, they were scorched or low-temperature flame or smoldering. This is in good agreement with the expected composition of the atmosphere in the Silurian period. It is believed that when the oxygen level was 18% (not 21% as now) in combination with the limited sources of fuel fires gave much lower intensity and therefore, coal with reduced reflectivity.
Also among the charred remains were discovered the fossilized feces — presumably the remains of life centipedes.
Battery News, 30.04.2004 13:34