We have been not over-indulging this Christmas and New Year. It’s too easy falling into the trap of eating too much, drinking too much and doing too little at this time of year. So, we have purposely kept the portions small and enjoyed walks along the coast. We are very lucky having the beach so close to us.
I feel really lucky living here. We have the great Northumbrian coastal scenery and the huge array of wildlife. On New Year’s Day we spotted something really unusual on the beach and I will be going back to photograph it. Unusually I had left my camera at home on that day so we went back this morning and I grabbed some shots.
The sea had uncovered the remains of an ancient forest that had been buried beneath the sand a long time ago. The stumps were growing out of what looked like a soft black, peaty coal seam. Having been starved of oxygen the wood was well preserved. A couple of the stumps had been sticking out of the sand for some time and algae had grown onto it.
Our son at the end of the coal seam.
My wonderful wife, Johanna, by one of the stumps growing from the black, peaty, coal-like layer.
Closer views of the wood. Preserved in the anaerobic conditions but not yet fossilised. I am not sure how old this forest was, but it is on the sea side of the sand dunes, so had been here a long-long time. The black, soft organic rock into which it was buried I am guessing was the organic matter that was slowly turning into coal underground, but had not quite become that.
During the Iron Age a tsunami hit this part of the coast and an settlement very close to here was destroyed, There was a recent archaeological dig to investigate the ruins that were beneath the dunes. I wonder if these trees were destroyed and buried by the same event. I have contacted an geologist to find out.
The incoming* tide will cover this twice daily so I suspect that, unless it is covered by the sand again, the soft, organic remains will erode away fairly quickly. (*Note how I sneaked the 52 theme in there!)
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