Under Greenland's Ice: Soil Older Than Mankind
Land mass once home to forests
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Apr 18, 2014 11:18 AM CDT
In this July 15, 2011 photo, in a trench dug into the 2-mile-thick Greenland Ice Sheet, a researcher preserves ice samples at Summit Station.   (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

(Newser) – The soil under the highest point of the Greenland Ice Sheet, scientists have learned, is 2.7 million years old, LiveScience reports. In other words, the silt buried under thousands of feet of ice "has been preserved from beyond the dawn of humankind," says Paul Bierman, who determined the soil's age through a geochemical dating process. The findings also suggest Greenland wasn't always as frosty as it is today: Instead, it was a tundra for between 200,000 and one million years before it was encased in ice. It was once home to bits of forest, the scientists found using offshore plant DNA.

In other words, as the International Business Times has it, "Greenland really was green." The Greenland Ice Sheet that's there now, however, has been remarkably durable: The findings imply that it made it through a strong period of warming some 130,000 years ago. "It's unlikely the ice sheet has disappeared for significant periods of time in the last three million years, at least at this one pinprick on this big island," Bierman says. "Now human activity may spell the end of it." (What else lies under Greenland's ice? A canyon that dwarfs the Grand Canyon, an aquifer holding 100 billion tons of water, and two huge lakes.)

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Under Greenland's Ice: Soil Older Than Mankind is...
6%
75%
1%
8%
3%
6%
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Comments
Showing 3 of 61 comments
Sendmoney
Jun 4, 2015 6:47 PM CDT
The really SAD part is that 'reputable scientists' have been duped into believing that contrary to FACTS , The earth is several years into a 30 year cycle of COOLING! Politically Correct Nations have fudged their temp. readings, contrary to actual temperatures recorded by maritime measurements. One Volcanic eruption, or One forrest fire produces more Carbon gas than all of mankind ever did. While Al Gore's whiners are at it, find out how Iron is turned into Carbon steel used for steel beams for building bridges and reinforcing concrete. How about those sheet metal cars you use ? Look up Climate Realist and find out about the 0.006 % of the Carbon gas in the atmosphere is attributed to MAN !
RufusT.Firefly
Apr 20, 2014 2:46 PM CDT
Strange headline. Isn't ALL soil older than mankind?
JERZJOE
Apr 20, 2014 9:48 AM CDT
the only finding i fear from this is from the movie "THE THING" (1982 & prequel 2011). both excellent!! then we have only 27,000 hours b4 it takes us over! where's the PREDATOR when you need him!! there ya go!!