Workers redeveloping the site of a former steelworks near Wrexham have uncovered a fossil forest believed to date back 300 million years.

Geologists are now overseeing the excavation of the site, which is 50m long, at the old Brymbo works.

The forest pre-dated the dinosaurs and was from a time when what is now Wales was hot and humid and over the equator.

It is hoped the fossils can be conserved as a heritage attraction alongside new homes and industry.

The fossils date from the carboniferous period, before flowering plants.

Wales would have been dominated by tropical rainforests, whose compressed layers of decaying growth formed its coal deposits.

Developer Parkhill Estates is preserving the find using plastic sheeting and gravel but geologists hope in the long term a protective dome might be built as a heritage site.

The "trees" were not like trees at all, but a giant club moss, which grew to a size of up to 40 metres.

Dr Jacqui Malpas, who is overseeing the excavation of the fossil site called the site extraordinary.

She said so far 20 fossilized trees had been uncovered, but others were being left undisturbed for fear the weather would damage them.

"It's rare to see so many fossilized trees," she said.

"The aim now is to catalogue all the finds and record the site. The forest is, however, threatened by rainwater, which is scouring the soft, protective mudstone. It's a race against time."

There are three other fossilized forests in Scotland, Dorset and Sheffield but the numbers found here are what makes it so interesting, as well as the timeline which links forward to the old iron works.

One idea is to recreate a tropical climate under a dome, complete with modern-day plants, with their ancient fossil relatives in the surrounding rock.

"There is wonderful potential to include the fossil forest within the former Brymbo works heritage area," added Dr Malpas.

 

Steelworks 煉鋼廠

Geologists地質學家,地質學者

Excavation挖掘;開鑿

pre-dated...的日期填得早於實際日期;在日期上早於

conserved保存;保護;節省

heritage遺產,世襲財產

alongside在旁邊;沿著;靠攏著;並排地

carboniferous【地】石炭紀的;石炭系的, 石炭紀;石炭層

compressed 壓縮的

decaying (放射性物質的)蛻變; 人造衛星重返大氣層的日期, 腐朽,腐爛;蛀牙

gravel【礦】砂礫層

dome圓屋頂,圓蓋,穹窿, 半球形物;蒼穹

moss苔蘚;地衣

undisturbed未受干擾的,寧靜的;未被碰過的, 泰然自若的;不受打擾的

scouring洗擦

modern-day現代的,當代的,今日的

 

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