Analysis of pollen and marine fossils reveals Earth SANK


As the Andean Mountains rose millions of years ago, the Eastern Amazon sank, submerging a region from modern day Venezuela to northwestern Brazil beneath water from the Caribbean.

And, it didn’t just happened once.

A new analysis of pollen records and fossils from the area, including a shark tooth and a mantis shrimp, revealed two separate flooding periods between 18 million and 12 million years ago.

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A new analysis of pollen records and fossils from the area, including a shark tooth (pictured) and a mantis shrimp, revealed two separate flooding periods between 18 million and 12 million years ago

A new analysis of pollen records and fossils from the area, including a shark tooth (pictured) and a mantis shrimp, revealed two separate flooding periods between 18 million and 12 million years ago

A new analysis of pollen records and fossils from the area, including a shark tooth (pictured) and a mantis shrimp, revealed two separate flooding periods between 18 million and 12 million years ago

WHAT THEY FOUND 

Researchers analyzed more than 50,000 individual pollen grains, across more than 900 types of pollen from oil drilling cores from the Saltarin region of Colombia.

The investigation revealed two distinct layers of marine pollen, with layers of non-marine pollen types in between.

Along with this, the researchers found fossils of a shark tooth and mantis shrimp in the lower layer – both marine organisms.

According to the team, the find suggests ‘clear evidence’ of marine sediments in the area, despite claims that they may be of a different origin.

Scientists have long debated the geologic history of the region.

Some believe there was once a large, shallow sea covering the Amazon for millions of years.

Others say it was a freshwater megalake, or shifting lowland rivers that were sometimes flooded by seawater.

And, some suspect there was a ‘para-marine metalake,’ unlike anything that exists today.

In the new study, conducted by scientists from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and colleagues, researchers found that there were two periods lasting less than a million years each during which the Eastern Amazon sank.

As this happened, Caribbean seawater spilled in, flooding the area from Venezuela to northwestern Brazil.

To determine this, the team analyzed more than 50,000 individual pollen grains, across more than 900 types of pollen from oil drilling cores from the Saltarin region of Colombia.

The investigation revealed two distinct layers of marine pollen, with layers of non-marine pollen types in between.

Along with this, the researchers found fossils of a shark tooth and mantis shrimp in the lower layer – both marine organisms.

According to the team, the find suggests ‘clear evidence’ of marine sediments in the area, despite claims that they may be of a different origin.

 As the Andean Mountains rose millions of years ago, the Eastern Amazon sank, submerging a region from modern day Venezuela to northwestern Brazil beneath water from the Caribbean

 As the Andean Mountains rose millions of years ago, the Eastern Amazon sank, submerging a region from modern day Venezuela to northwestern Brazil beneath water from the Caribbean

 As the Andean Mountains rose millions of years ago, the Eastern Amazon sank, submerging a region from modern day Venezuela to northwestern Brazil beneath water from the Caribbean

The investigation revealed two distinct layers of marine pollen, with layers of non-marine pollen types in between. Along with this, the researchers found fossils of a shark tooth and mantis shrimp in the lower layer – both marine organisms

The investigation revealed two distinct layers of marine pollen, with layers of non-marine pollen types in between. Along with this, the researchers found fossils of a shark tooth and mantis shrimp in the lower layer – both marine organisms

According to the team, the find suggests ‘clear evidence’ of marine sediments in the area, despite claims that they may be of a different origin. A modern Carcharhinus shark, similar to the fossil shark found in the study, is pictured 

According to the team, the find suggests ‘clear evidence’ of marine sediments in the area, despite claims that they may be of a different origin. A modern Carcharhinus shark, similar to the fossil shark found in the study, is pictured 

According to the team, the find suggests ‘clear evidence’ of marine sediments in the area, despite claims that they may be of a different origin. A modern Carcharhinus shark, similar to the fossil shark found in the study, is pictured 

The researchers say two flooding events took place, between 18-17 million years ago and between 16-12 million years ago.

‘Pollen records from oil wells in eastern Colombia and outcrops in northwestern Brazil clearly show two short-lived events in which ocean water from the Caribbean flooded what is now the northwest part of the Amazon basin,’ said Carlos Jaramillo, staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and lead author of the study.

‘Geologists disagree about the origins of the sediments in this area, but we provide clear evidence that they are of marine origin, and that the flooding events were fairly brief.

‘It’s important to understand changes across the vast Amazonian landscape that had a profound effect, both on the evolution and distribution of life there and on the modern and ancient climates of the continent.’

 



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