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The Amazon rainforest rose from the ashes of the world’s longest forest fire2 min read

April 12, 2021 2 min read


The Amazon rainforest rose from the ashes of the world’s longest forest fire2 min read

Reading Time: 2 minutes

One day, the dinosaurs were here. The next thing, 66 million years ago, they weren’t. Why?

That’s right! A massive meteorite hurtled towards the planet and blew up most of what was on it. This terrifying destructive rock didn’t just blow up dinosaurs, but entire ecosystems were blasted out of existence. The fires caused by the collision lasted for a whole 10 million years! However, there was one surprising consequence to this unfortunate (for the dinosaurs) collision. The Amazon rainforest was formed!

Rainforest Facts and Importance | Amazon Rainforest Animals, Plants and More
The Amazon Rainforest. Image:Popular Mechanics

Yes! That lush green, beautiful, full-of-splendid-creatures, massive natural lung was created by the prehistoric world’s most devastating attack. I suppose nothing in the world is straightforward anymore, huh?

How do we know all this?

Let’s get into how on Earth scientists figured this out. Well, as usual, they looked at plain old rocks. Scientists studied rocks. They travelled around Columbia and studied 53 rocks that had fossilised pollen and leaves in them. So out of their 53 samples, some fossils belonged to a time before the mass extinction, while others belonged to a time 10 million years after the meteor struck.

Amazon Rainforest - Weiner Elementary
Very little sunlight filters in for the Amazonian undergrowth. Image: Weiner Elementary

They found that the leaves and pollen embedded in the dinosaur age rocks belonged to plants with leaves that were veiny. Moreover, these plants contained a substance called Carbon 13. The scientists knew that excess veins and carbon 13 indicated one thing. The plants probably grew and lived in a lot of sunlight. Now, if you’ve seen a picture of the amazon rainforest, you’ve probably noticed that it’s pretty dark in there. So, you can probably guess what the 10-million-year, rising from the ashes of the fiery meteorite fossils looked like. Yup, they belonged to entirely new, vein-lacking species of plants. From the ashes of a 10- million -year-long fire grew out the beautiful plants that make up the Amazon forest as we know it today.

Does this make you wonder how on Earth do you know the age of a rock? Watch this video to find out.


With Excerpts From: Scientific American

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