- Jul 8, 2003
Ancient Antarctica was a warm swampy rainforest, says sediment study
It’s hard to imagine Antarctica as anything other than a freezing lifeless landscape, but that wasn’t always the case. Now, an international team has recovered a 90-million-year old soil sample that paints the most detailed picture of ancient Antarctica ever found, revealing a swampy rainforest and balmy temperatures.
According to the study, during the peak of the Age of the Dinosaurs, West Antarctica was covered in dense vegetation, rivers and swamps. The annual average air temperature was around 12 °C (53.6 °F), and during summer that average went up to a pleasant 19 °C (66.2 °F). Rainfall amounts and intensity were similar to the lowlands of places like Wales.