Ancient Bald Cypress

50,000 yr old Alabama Cypress forest proves nickname “Wood Eternal”

Recently off the coast of Alabama, an amazing hidden secret was found on the ocean floor of the Gulf of Mexico. The rough waters of Hurricane Ivan uncovered a relic from centuries past, an underwater forest of Bald Cypress trees. Cypress has been given the nickname “Wood Eternal” because of its natural resistance to rot. This forest of ancient trees truly proved that these trees were given the right label. Originally thought to be 10,000 years old, scientists completed carbon dating and ran into a problem. The problem was the trees were so old that they did not register. After pulling some samples from the layer of sediment above the forest, they finally were able to date the youngest they would be: 45,000 years old! Scientists suspect they are more like 50-60 thousand years old. To put this in perspective, the oldest cave drawings found are 40,000 years old. 50,000 years ago the Sahara desert was not a desert but fertile farming lands!

Ancient Alabama Coastline

Ancient Alabama Coast


Scientists made a documentary of their finds. They believe the trees were once an ancient coastal swamp area of the current state of Alabama. The ice age was causing swift sea level changes. Eventually enough of the glaciers melted causing the sea to permanently swallow this ancient swamp. Some of the trees still had bark and when they cut it to be able to study small sections, they found sap and noted that it smelled like fresh wood. A true testament to the wonders of Cypress and its natural abilities to survive water… even 60 feet of water for 40,000 + years! Find out more in the documentary above.

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