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Ancient Soil Discovered in Guizhou Province

GUIYANG, August 6 -- Soil dating back to the Carboniferous Period 300 million years ago has been recently discovered in Guizhou Province. This has provided new direct evidence for the research of ancient Chinese climatic conditions. Before this discovery, the earliest direct evidence available was dated 2 million years ago, according to latest issue of Beijing Review.

Guizhou Daily stated that geochemistry researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences accidentally found the ancient soil layer in Zunyi, Weng'an, Zheng'an, Daozhen and other areas, during a field reconnaissance.

The soil layer, two to three meters thick, is preserved well under stable geographical conditions, with fairly complete plant root fossils and mother rock still retained. Neither stratification nor animal fossils were found, except a few embryo roes with clitellums that are not fully grown. After extensive analysis and research, researchers decided that the soil layer is left over from the early Carboniferous Period 300 million years ago.

Just like growth rings on trees and deep-sea deposits, ancient soil is also an important reference in the study of ancient climate conditions. Well-preserved ancient soil, which contains lots of organic material, plant roots, pollen spores and fossils, can be a very accurate and sensitive indicator of the environmental changes at the time. Since the soil retains so many marks left by environmental changes, scientists may use modern scientific means to extract climate and environment information concerning ancient times from it --including the conditions of climate, vegetation, topography, and the density of carbon dioxide in the air --thus reconstructing the history of ancient environmental and climatic changes.

-- source: Xinhua News Agency

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