WWL>Topics>>5-16-14 11:10am Don Dubuc: on the underwater cypress forest

5-16-14 11:10am Don Dubuc: on the underwater cypress forest

May 16, 2014|

Don Dubuc fills in for Garland and talks about a recently discovered underwater cypress forest with Kristine DeLong of LSU and Grant Harley of Southern Miss.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

And being a Friday on the Friday edition of the think tank -- Don Don Dubuque and the Garland Robinette thank you for tuning in as we head into what looks like a gorgeous weekend weather wise -- we certainly deserve this. Especially all you fisherman that this is going to be the one we've been waiting for one -- -- of the fishing game report coming up will be. This hour gonna talk about a fascinating. Subject called the offshore forest and more importantly once you hear about it like me you may realize that this could have some. Profound. Implications. Of the future of restoring the wetlands in the Colston Louisiana. The group Blair found out about this. I'm a subscriber to a publication called. Tied magazine is the official publication. Of the coastal conservation association. Across the story written by a gentleman -- Ben -- also he included some underwater photographs that he took of this. And basically it's a -- that is located. Fifteen miles off the Alabama coast. It's in sixty feet of water. In what is is thousands of cypress tree stumps that sprout out from the ocean floor. They are the remaining. Trunks and parts of what was once an ancient Cyprus for Jeremy and I as Cyprus. Forests. That is now fifteen miles on the sixty feet of water off the Alabama coast. This really is telling and not just from that it was discovered in its whole story of why it was preserved in -- that minute. But what implications this is gonna have with regard. To what we might be able to accomplish on not accomplished. -- our coastal master plan and all these efforts to root store the coast of Louisiana. And also I think might provide an understanding of what truly cause this erosion problem. If it is in fact. All about erosion. And not about sea level things will be talking about him a couple of great guest joining us the first one of what is now -- name is Christine along. She is a -- climate colleges that L issue. Basically an assistant professor in the department of geography and anthropology. Christine. Thanks for tickets in time to join -- eight -- -- climate colleges if you understand Latin you can probably put it together but. But plain old folks would tell us what that is used to. So we'll take you so much for her invited me to come on the Palin practicality of the pound like paleontologist. That study half life I studied past climate. Arrogant. Now in addition to being a professor in this study of Palo climate technology you're also a dive which is a big loss the -- actually went down in witnessed and saw firsthand. This offshore on the war to forest would you kind of bring us up to date on. What it is how was discovered why and why I was in such a state of pristine condition. I assure you that way I am -- -- divers I've got kind of decide it and gone out and Baptist side as well. So what differences and if we go back in time. -- -- during the glacial -- little lot lower than what it is today about 400 feet lowers the imagined. Kicking water at the instant pudding and -- land and form these mile thick glaciers it's gonna -- he level to decrease. Appear in this time the -- a lot like because today except it was further. Into the Gulf of Mexico and what it is today so he just went and confronted him receipts. Bald cypress forests and swamps and marshes the same thing consistently and -- level was smaller. That's what the forest is where it is today it's because sea level was lowered here in the glacial age. You know the reason why -- prisoner is that the level. -- as the ice sheets were mounting. The -- that were in -- Cyprus. Flops they needed a lot of oxygen on -- and a flop he's not that. That gas since gas is now the -- So that held it there's no oxygen in the mud that there's no oxygen and the mind. There's no bacteria in the air to -- the bullet for the gives the mud buried preservation. So that's why all of these stomped the peace in the words are preserved so that the mud that was -- and has actually preserve them. Over the years. And what state of preservation did you find them and how how good one there. From what I understand from the story that was actually sat that still some. Yes that though -- Several pieces that connector. Com it looks like woods several of the pieces still have mark on concede. -- channels and the word. We had some of the pieces of wood right on the and it smells like you're cutting fresh cypress street. Now it is amazing to smell the trees coming out of the water and having it and it smells just like you freshly cut a tree on land. And then looking at the -- under the micro uses the structures out there you know. Most people and ship it to them like -- -- at that Cyprus and look at it constantly I normally -- That's from the ice ages. And their -- that it is well preserved. If you could. Analysts visual. Or what you imagine envisioned this forest look like in its heyday when in the sea level was much much lower and it was completely all above. Above -- level. Right so this particular location. Till it drops you're liable to like today where mobile day is located that now further. Now. Into the Gulf of Mexico and the fourth -- right along the -- east. The the previous mobile day so he had the river coming down. Once we get really like states will -- -- exact location of where it would have been on the ultimately we know on the east side. The previous. But they'll say. That would have been me in an area that had rivers flowing through it. Could you imagine into the Gulf Coast today it's pretty flattened and that that Mississippi River and other rivers stadium under quite a and that's because. He'd be elevation. Passes. Quite we need it most -- the Gulf Coast drops -- level 400 feet. That gradient is now increase the rivers and flow a little faster. During the ice agents said it would have been on the on the date are on the east -- a debate with reverse slowing down into the day. So it would look a lot like we -- Cyprus. -- like today. But there and locations that we don't expect to see them. So -- that it's pretty amazing to be sitting out there on -- we can barely seen the conflict could barely see the konduz front Orange Beach. And I think that the years at five -- -- -- cypress tree right under your feet. AM. How long goal we talked and about when this exist today has been used its carbon dating being used -- those samples into. Right that's what we're doing right now. Our samples that we have an opportunity. They came back radio carbon -- That means they were older than 50000 years so we've -- act. It has taken sediment cores and studios that make courts weakened state of layers to will be litigated and -- time chronology of what happens. Do the whole sequence. With a Forrest was growing. And at his level came been changed so we know it and that time frame from about 8000 years ago. Possibly back to 80000 years ago. But we'll get more precise dates as we get more more samples. And sediment cores that we can date. I would talking with Christine the launches a paralegal climate technologist and LA issue we're talking about this discovery -- -- happened about two years ago but. I didn't really get a lot of press that is I think it's very important that we. Understand the implications with regard to -- wetland restoration we come back Christine to. To share her opinion on what this might mean as far as our attempts to fight and combat mother nature and reverse the effects of sea level rise. We'll be right back -- listening to the think tank on WW now -- command to the Friday edition of the think tank -- with McCain today about coastal restoration. And sea level rise in its relationship to what has happened with wetlands loss here in Louisiana. And I think gate key to that has been uncovered. In this discovery of an offshore Cyprus forests located now the remnants of it anyway fifteen miles south of mobile bay in the Gulf of Mexico which is. Obvious proof that is indisputable evidence that sea level rise is on the march it's still taking place today. Pushing further north would. Christine along his assistant professor department geography and anthropology and -- issue. I'm not only does she studies type of thing but she's actually -- down there and seen it firsthand brought backs and samples would stay in the process of examining cut to get further information about this. Chris stain out the last I heard. And I think this came out early this week that we are expecting to see an additional thirteen foot sea level rise over the next. 100 years based on what we saw happen to this cypress -- that was out there. Fifteen miles in the Gulf of Mexico now. What we see when we go along I'll lower colts now when we see salt water intrusion. On some of our cypress swamp which is killing the trees and raising the water level further inland and knowing that we had much of Louisiana Alabama Mississippi. Were all on the water because we found evidence of different species that live back in those very very early days there. I'm only wasting my time with -- and I know this is a social question I'm asking you. And you've got the scientific answer that no we're not gonna stop sea level rise -- you know win here in Louisiana would debating what to do this eighty billion dollar coastal master planned. Do we divert the river and misses the Mississippi River do we dredge and fill -- we rocked the shorelines to stabilize insurance. All along I'm looking at you know when he Charlton Heston the ten commandments -- we gonna hold this attack is it possible weakened. Take -- mother nature and -- Yes. The kind of things they keep you know scientists and social scientists awake at night sometimes is you know. What that we do because we see you know we love her or coastal wetlands in the we have cities people live there so you know -- -- -- You think about that and how that we prepare for the future. So different compared to when they talk about -- level rise from the ice ages we're looking at about four feet every hundred years. So when you think about -- to come forward to Louisiana because you're looking at data rate at sea level rise or greater. And yet it is scary thing to think about. No but you can't think the cut line is just the place that that. Stagnant it's. Not responding that he level right that doesn't respond at that level rise. The things like our swaps and arsenal water marshes. They -- traps sediment and our rivers bring down sentiment and they'll tell us about how we built land. Com -- -- -- processes take place naturally took the landscape and the coastline changes. You know over the past 101000 you to Mississippi delta has built you know seven different -- Different parts of the -- and lose back and forth so to their land building data crackers and so most of what's below right and today. That's all new land. On that -- built up overtime and some of the issues loses we now have flooding on the Mississippi River. And on our other rivers -- that sentiment that and the rivers no longer building land it's going straight out to. The deeper waters of the Gulf of Mexico. It well as natural processes to occur we could build up the plan -- -- the -- grasses. And the cypress trees do their work in trappings settlement. But we've stopped. So how can we help mother nature. Build up the land. And and that the big question is can we build up fast enough to. Keep from losing our coastline where it is today you know is going to be in Oakland. Probably. We we see evidence of that in the past that it hasn't been quite habit overtime. You know we go into the future and -- have a future world where we know all of the guy. On Greenland and Antarctica. We're looking at about another 400 feet at sea level rise. Which is pretty much everything in Louisiana under water up about two of the Mississippi Louisiana State line. So for those of the two extremes that we did beef between. So I guess the question becomes if Europe conservative estimate of of fourth the hundred years in this new win and I heard was as much as thirteen over a hundred years. -- is what we have resource wise to try to defeat that to create new landed protectors. And then build it up from that -- only waste my time I mean the belt that's a powerful powerful force and I don't know if there's enough money in resources on planet earth to stop it. Again it's gonna cost a lot of money. And that one of the things they think in national climate assessment that came out two weeks ago. You know that -- Really considering because you know a large percentage of our population lives on the coastline. We have lots of infrastructure there we have a lot of investment there we protect that investment. -- with it's a question society have to really think about do we want to put in the money. To build up our coastlines. May be that money and effort and planning should be spent remove retreat effort. I mean that's how humanity is survived all these ages is by. Heading north when sea level comes and then as it recedes move back down and Phillips south and does very with a flow. I personally don't want to make the Internet. I don't put that on secrecy -- -- -- -- that's strictly up to you. I am getting a lot of text and people are very very interest in this underwater forest they wanna know is there a web site. Whereas some of the photographs all I have some reconstructed drawings are done to whip you get a better idea and actually seeing it. I think that week's debate foundation. That and Raines is associated with. So they have the deprivation on their web site. Actually working on a documentary. On the -- Believe that and doing filming underwater he's kind of -- -- might. And it doesn't until links that it will be a document treats coming out on the site. And I know from. Going over the visit that area that they have little small office opened -- 21 if they have some displays of something in there. Not yet. One of the things we're planning on doing is bringing up one of the stops. We actually got one to the surface last October. But it was too heavy again is the so it's really easy that promotes lightweight and water. That we couldn't get it in the so when we have a larger. To go out that we. A wind Sean will be able to bring one of the trees stumps out to the surface and it will go into the museum to display. -- I'm wondering if part of may be keep in this a secret somewhat. Is to protect and I mean when people -- but this a unit of people that would actually go -- in trying to harm the system. Oh yeah I've quite doable because we look at the GPS coordinates yet. Though it closely guarded secret. And -- for a couple of reasons why -- you know I think initially discovered back in 2004. Actor. One of the hurricane and Hurricane Ike came through. Slept what and covered the force initially and -- -- -- -- there -- so. Selling out at dawn dish that's why they discovered in the -- -- was want to know why am I catch and all these -- map that is going to be Iraq is something that I hold. And offshore forest ran the show as a threat to go up but said to be like discovering. You know status or is -- was yolk still ended the year prize. We. He has it and closely guarded secret. That there is working with you know. To their liking him making it into a protected marine sanctuary area. But and it's heading I haven't talked to him in a month or so. But -- they are working -- protected. And they -- is protected opening in apps people who want to go out and see the forest will be able to do it. Again Christine thanks for taking time and talked about this -- no problem. Thanks very much that's not -- along a professor of department geography in anthropology at L issue -- One of the few people's actually build and witnessed the remnants of a cypress forest now located ten miles out in the Gulf of Mexico. I wanted to talk to another scientist at grant Harley. Assistant professor at university of southern miss and get his take on this underwater for fascinating topic will be right back you listen to the think tank on WW. And welcome back -- good morning from -- go down to beacon for Garland -- this is a Friday edition of the think tank column will be back with you on Monday. Talking about it when I find it -- fascinating subject and ancient cypress forest. Was discovered so a few years back in. What is now -- the Gulf of Mexico in sixty feet of water fifteen miles south of mobile bay. What was discovered was a giant cypress forest with some of -- -- in diameter of ten feet which -- enormous. Apparently used forming some type of a river channel with banks with a cypress trees grew along it. What is remarkable about it was the the well. Preserved. Parts and pieces that have been found them there. Well what exposed it it was covered in mud is previous guest Christine -- just explained it was covered in -- would have been of the oxygen. Not to get too which prevented the running process is probably the bulls durable wood on the planet to begin with. But that was actually sat in and a lot of telltale signs of the Cyprus treason. One it happened on doing the periods that they were there which was -- long long time. And then along came hurricane I think it was Ivan. Came through with those some tremendous wave action. Than what it did was it it kind of washed a scoured that -- away from the east arms. And that's when it revealed. It was actually discovered from -- understand by a fisherman who started -- -- now if you finish in Louisiana. We fish a lot of ground all platform because they form fish habitat. These organisms attached himself to the rig rig lakes. Small -- species come defeat on the in the larger predatory species come but in the off the coast of Alabama there is some. Drilling in some platforms they have but a lot of -- they do them especially for a they finish reefs and they finish wrecks of grow bulk status on. And when they fond of their remarkable on the GPS and and go back to those spot as the fish congregate on that structure. Well fisherman was captions snapper in this area didn't know why any gas some folks detective out. They did they build down there and to have this disk to amazing amazement this is what they found an underwater. Cypress forest at least the remnants of it which is indisputable proof that it one time the sea level had retreated such that. That was cypress trees and land out fifteen miles in the Gulf of Mexico. Well now it's. Coming back in -- this process is still going on today. Sea levels are rising. That the raid is so -- still it's it's it's a range of somewhere between four and the latest information is thirteen feet. You can imagine what four -- would do. As opposed to thirteen feet and it brings up begs the question to me anyway. All of this talk of coastal restoration. Diverting the Mississippi River spending billions upon billions of dollars. Stabilizing shorelines in planning grasses and dredging in filling. Is all this a worthwhile effort should maybe we'd be putting our efforts in a different fashion. And one of retreat out of move civilization further away the -- while this. Sea level rise has taken place and then David for another day when the -- began to recede which would talk and -- thousands of years here. Then as land does expose for the south then back down there again. I don't know what do you think 260187. Or 866889087. And get some interest in text in here if you wanna do that it's 87870. And we'll get to those in the second we have another guest joining us to talk about this amazing discovery. A grant Ali who has an assistant professor. With the department of geography and geology US and M University of Southern Mississippi. He is what is classified as a dam broke chronology is grand welcome to the show and if you would. Tell us what Dan -- chronology is -- on a daily basis. I don't actually to be here disability into chronology. Is beside the uses. -- speeding triggering techniques to match the pattern of why -- between different trees to. To create a chronology -- times here is that boring. And given that -- -- street produce one. Brokering per year in response to some sort climate fluctuation or environmental situation we give -- I usually that signal. Was in the growth rings and it reconstruct. That whatever climate or environment phenomena. While you had to -- like the kid on Christmas Day when you've got this to to research on this is a researchers agreement similar to those to come up with. Cypress trees that could be anywhere from -- as -- eight to 80000 years old. Definitely surreal you know I got a call law that one -- from I guess when the budget deficient and it down force in. He does one do when searched you know triggering dating her gender acknowledging cannot put my name I'd just been hired at a university and the European department -- geology in. Yeah allude the law -- had to go and check out churn out. About -- -- like -- yes the little built pro images than apple but but to cross sections or mean -- -- it's. Cyprus who had been preserved over. Yes thousands of years and in course that jury's still out worst worst. The link back. The get rid of carbon dating. On the -- to see what exactly. Yet they were there were growing -- -- the exact like you said it could be anywhere from you know eight to 80000 years old. Well tell -- what if he's discovered what have you found out from examining of the pieces that you -- Debate as -- the project is is gonna. -- do we -- him again out there. And entry anyone -- mean or you know to you what you get out. In picking miles they did Munich nations early for a meeting that he'd. To -- the news this little. We've been limited so far by the enormous well -- in in what you know Bozo but again. Out there and survey the site we sort of collaborate with day or -- and they've -- marine side can at barber in. And his only and indeed that the multi beam imaging. Out of -- gains that our sport that you know working it. It -- gut it -- under them down there in likes simple approach and actually in the -- eight which is sort of I've -- -- -- -- six able -- the group trying to court these Cyprus staple. On the Grotrian. May not -- able across stay in. Between -- to -- and you could I know windows wrote we were relatives were trying to reduce carbon Don. But I mean -- we assume they'd be on the precipitation just like -- -- that Kristi today. Would possibly the most important piece of information gathered would be that we could tell how long it took. But that C -- and say starting there with those trees were to move to where it is today and that would tell us. The future of the rate of sea level rise of what we can expect down the line. You're absolutely right and -- that the exact who returning to let you know -- I mean at first in my mind until we can you get like precipitation reconstruction that really don't think that have a very much. Marshall said. Looking at the timing of any indication from sea level rise back in. You know eagle fluctuated. AME closely minute of the past winter and teacher get the ticket back tracking. Sort of burial of this sort of coastal marsh area where these factors were growing I think would be -- would make super -- -- this teacher. With talk with grant Ali from the University of Southern Mississippi about this recent discovery of offshore forests underneath the water and its implications all on coastal restoration Ingraham we come back from the break and an issue of what was a tough question when we go from here what do we do with regard. To putting up our resources in this effort to restore the coast of Louisiana and all along. We know that sea level is on the rise and would could be added a rate so. So forceful that no matter what we do we may not be able to have any impact will be right back listening to the think tank in the big 870 WW. And welcome back into the think tank we've been talking with grant -- he -- today professor and department of geography and geology at the University of Southern Mississippi about this discovery of an ancient forest that is now located. Fifteen miles on the Gulf of Mexico south of mobile bay. Indisputable evidence that the coastline did extend much further out into the gulf on and do this sea level rise which is continuing today. It is on the water in no more likely than than not much many many more areas of of what is now for a store -- line is destined to go under the water. Grant with regard to Louisiana's coastal erosion and restoration. Issue. I've been what you'd call cautiously pessimistic. I don't think. It's going to be saved I think number one we could've waited too late. We've got. Program now plan that's gonna cost eighty billion dollars. Up wood which is gonna take fifty years to implement. That involves Mississippi River diversions it involves. Rocking shorelines. Stabilizing -- lines dredging. Planning a different plants and tried to overcome the effects of erosion. Think that we have seriously underestimated the impact of sea level rise on this and now of this seeing this discovery here and seeing how quickly sea level rise is on the march. I'm thinking now maybe we might need to rethink the whole restoration opening in May be part our efforts into. Forming some type of vote for retreat and living in in harmony with mother nature as she progresses north -- bringing this season. And I know it's a tough question but though your opinion on this is the scientists all week. Literally wasting my time in the long run to try to rebuild the coast it's going to be put underwater -- -- -- runs. I don't. I 100% agree that he I. I mean in terms of where ago in the future I think. That we saw and the years conversation. Among the people the Gulf Coast in a politician around here. And it's kind of -- -- would -- -- -- and you know Coke -- resilient. Look at how to in combat people -- which -- at least they're like date somewhere around 1213 feet. Would mean basically anything. Told the DP under our oversee level is going to be each yelling in an short time. And yes that's I could accept. Today it's given me -- whole new perspective on the whole issue in the I don't know if it's affecting. List does that -- and liked and by the McCauley and then if you wanna talk with a since 260187. Euro -- 66889. 087. Or text message and -- get a lot of text in here. One question here and I'm not sure what. That talk in about audio as far as something they saw him maybe you have some campaign he said that. It looks like he went on. -- Says duke crews reached last saw some kind of walled in facility -- tell that it isn't typically -- oil companies it was at water level. Practically and you could see individual rooms the whole place was white was -- safety features of tight you know anything about that is in prison is an elaborate. Didn't give me a location on the chat with eighties does another one says. That ten miles off the coast of Pensacola -- Destin is another petrified forest called tumbles. He's still implement a whole lot of snapper there -- hundred to thirty feet of water popular of the spear fishing you know anything about that. Victory -- and there's there's also some other site he wants to efficiently -- first came out in in Canada. You. Revealed. -- water. But to entity modeled -- the mobile operators is you know kind of customer sport in the course of additional -- -- -- -- -- literally I -- leak it mapped. On -- line. A train secular but about a 120 feet of water department continental shelf. England in mind you know 1015 sites. Where there's cypress street this he. ICL. As time goes on yeah they're they're. Uncovered and that their reburied with with tropical cyclones hurricanes. Yeah I guess it's adequately. And it probably would talk a little company you know that they're they're really out there in all the China Australia people -- all the time and there are tests that borders. -- -- Instead direct and in it. -- he double order was much lower in the past in. Given at a current climate change in helping -- Arctic CI in the Antarctic. India on children there in. Where isn't it to some wanna close allowed -- I think most -- a cent a prediction -- the water would rise to the city of Memphis went to the city of the pyramid who would have -- it would have been Memphis Tennessee. It may be something to. Do you think in history -- -- -- and figure out -- and in the end teacher. And areas you know arise you know one you can put children -- areas. Yeah and the potential is there you know at what point. Grant thanks so much for taking time to talk was about what I find -- fascinating subject and I know you do -- -- of -- you'll get -- back on -- that carbon dating results come in denied any new discoveries -- information that reveals appreciate it. All right thank you I would be right back David and Fred we -- time we'll get two calls in. Also got more text -- 87870. This is the think tank on WW. -- coming up next hour is cheerleading a sport. Will debate it coming back on the think tank right after this.