Tag Archives: geology

Arctic Forests: What the Svalbardian rocks tell us about past climate and future warming

tropicsvalbard

This was written by guest contributors Thomas Frank and Stan Schouten

Barren lies the tundra right outside the northernmost city in the world, Longyearbyen. As the winter approaches, strong winds and cold temperatures make this place truly hostile. The darkness of the winter months adds to that, allowing only very specialist forms of life to survive here high above the Arctic circle.

While the fauna has managed to sustain even large species such as the polar bear, the flora is limited to flat vegetation with hard leaves creeping on the cold ground. It is impossible for any bigger plants to survive in such a cold environment with only very short growth seasons. Indeed, it is very hard to imagine that this climatic setting could have been different in the past – and yet it´s true.

Rocking their world: Scientists discover Svalbard’s mountains are at least 100X older than thought

oldmountains

It’d probably be a shock discovering your favorite young-looking rock star is actually a centenarian, so imagine how these scientists felt discovering the stars of the show were at least ten times times older than that.