Antarctica burned with forest fires when dinosaurs roamed Earth, says study

WION Web Team
New DelhiUpdated: Oct 28, 2021, 07:13 PM IST

The southern rockhopper penguin is native to islands near Antarctica, including the Falklands, and is listed as a threatened species on the red list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Photograph:(Getty)

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Antarctica and forest fires? volcanic activity? This appears unimaginable. But a study says that this was very much a thing when dinosaurs ruled the Earth

Anyone says Antarctica and all we can think of is endless ice sheets and cute-looking penguins. It's hard to imagine anything else happening. Antarctica is a frozen desert with negligible vegetation and limited animal life. Can we even imagine dinosaurs roaming there amid huge wildfires raging? And even volcanic activity?

But apparently that was a thing for the frozen continent around 75 million years ago. 

Earth went through one of the warmest periods between 66 to 100 million years ago. This meant that there was ample space for vegetation to grow. This in turn led to forest fires. And this period coincided with that which has the mighty dinosaurs ruling the global ecosystem.

Scientists have found evidence of the forest fire in Antarctica. An international team of researchers led by the Federal University of Pernambuco in Brazil found fossils that tell of these mega forest fires in distant past.

The researchers travelled to Antarctica's James Ross Island (2015-16) where they found fossils that had charcoal-like residue which hinted at forest-fires.

A theory that Antarctica was frequented with forest fires has already been put forward six years ago. The discovery of fossils with charcoal residue was a piece of evidence for this theory.

What triggered the wildfires?

Scientists have given another surprising reason for this. They think that volcanic activity (on Antarctica!) may have led to these frequent forest fires among other factors.

Earth is one freaky planet indeed!