The Axel Heiberg Absurdities

Shuffling westwards from the Embarrassments of Ellesmere Island we quickly encounter the wonders of Axel Heiberg Island and enter a strange realm of mainstream absurdities.

Axel Heiberg Island

But let’s start with the natural [wooden] wonders of Axel Heiberg Island.

50-million-year old tree stump

Nunavut considers a new park for Axel Heiberg’s fossil forest – Jane George
Nunatsiaq Online – 26 October 2010
http://www.nunatsiaqonline.ca/stories/article/263419_nunavut_considers_a_new_park_for_axel_heibergs_fossil_forest/

Fossil log

The fossil log in the picture was most likely knocked over during flooding, and then buried.
Some of these knocked over logs can be up to 8 meters long.

The Fossil Trees of Axel Heiberg Island
Dr. Ken Hooper Virtual Natural History Museum
Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Centre
http://hoopermuseum.earthsci.carleton.ca/forest/eocene17.html

Metasequoia_occidentalis_Mummified_Forest

Mummified stump of a Metasequoia (dawn redwood) tree
Geodetic Hills of Axel Heiberg Island

Now let’s dip our toes into the mainstream weirdness.

Apparently, the 40 or 50 [depending upon source] million year old mummified wood found on Axel Heiberg Island still “contains all its organic matter”, “can still be burned” and is “so well preserved that it is difficult to distinguish from present-day samples”.

The eastern part is hilly, with local plains.
It was on this side of the island that large tree stumps were discovered in 1985.

The stumps have since been dated at 40 million years old, evidence that the Far North was at that time much warmer and wetter.

This “Fossil Forest” is not petrified but contains all its organic matter, making it a unique glimpse into an ancient ecosystem.

The stumps, logs, seeds, cones and leaves are in some cases so well preserved that it is difficult to distinguish them from present-day samples.

Axel Heiberg Island
The Canadian Encyclopedia
http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/axel-heiberg-island/

Cypress needles

The Fossil Trees of Axel Heiberg Island
Dr. Ken Hooper Virtual Natural History Museum
Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Centre
http://hoopermuseum.earthsci.carleton.ca/forest/eocene14.html

Thus far, we are in similar territory to the Embarrassments of Ellesmere Island.

However, as we plunge into the details we discover the mainstream has unearthed wood from [at least] six species of tree on Axel Heiberg Island.

The most common tree species is dawn redwood (Metasequoia sp), but larch, plane-tree sycamore (Platanus sp), Chinese water chestnut (Glyptostrobus sp), spruce and pine have also been found.

Animal evidence of semitropical Axel Heiberg was found in the late 1990s when alligator and turtle fossils were found at Mokka Fiord and fossilized tooth fragments of an extinct huge rhinoceroslike herbivore, Brontotheriidae, were found in the fossil forest site.

Axel Heiberg Island
The Canadian Encyclopedia
http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/axel-heiberg-island/

These six species are a weird and wonderful collection of deciduous and evergreen trees that thrive in a variety of environments from around the northern hemisphere.

There are Dawn Redwoods from China mixed with Plane Trees that thrive in the United Kingdom.
There are hardy evergreen Spruce mixed with deciduous Chinese Swamp Cypresses.

Tree Species

Furthermore, hardwood litter [from angiosperms] is frequently mixed with softwood litter [from gymnosperms] in the same [narrow] stratigraphic layer.

Stratigraphic sequence

Stratigraphic sequence illustrating fossiliferous sediments of Fossil Forest; sampling location for this study is highlighted, as is position of brontothere fossil teeth described by Eberle and Storer (1999).

Eocene Meridional Weather Patterns Reflected in the Oxygen Isotopes of Arctic Fossil Wood
A. Hope Jahren [Johns Hopkins University]
Leonel Silveira Lobo Sternberg [University of Miami]
GSA Today – January 2002
http://www.geosociety.org/gsatoday/archive/12/1/pdf/i1052-5173-12-1-4.pdf

Obviously, explaining away this weird and wonderful collection of world wide wood has severely taxed the creative imagination of the mainstream because no trees currently grow at 80° N.

Eocene Forest

This is hardly surprising because trees don’t thrive in an Arctic Desert [annual precipitation just above 3 inches] when the Monthly Average High Temperature only gets above freezing for three months of the year [Eureka 79°59′20″N on Ellesmere Island] and there is no sunlight for 4 months of the year.

The settlement sees the midnight sun between April 10 and August 29, with no sunlight at all between mid-October and late February.

Eureka has the lowest average annual temperature and least precipitation of any weather station in Canada with an annual mean temperature of −18.8 °C (−1.8 °F).

Winters are frigid, but summers are slightly warmer than at other places in the Canadian Arctic.

Even so, since record keeping began, the temperature has never exceeded 20.9 °C (69.6 °F), first reached on July 14, 2009.

Although a polar desert, evaporation is also very low, which allows the limited moisture to be made available for plants and wildlife. Eureka is the location in the world with the highest average hours of sunshine in any single month, namely May.

Eureka Climate Data

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eureka,_Nunavut

The Farthest North Spruce Tree in Alaska grew around 120 miles above the Arctic Circle at [about] 68° N until it was “murdered” by an “axeman” in 2004.

Coldfoot - Alaska

Coldfoot primarily serves as a truck stop on the Dalton Highway from Fairbanks to Prudhoe Bay. North of Coldfoot, there are no services for 240 miles (400 km), until Deadhorse.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coldfoot,_Alaska

Farthest North Spruce Tree murdered by axeman
In Coldfoot, Alaska, an anonymous vandal has savaged a tourist attraction.
The celebrated Farthest North Spruce Tree on the Alaska Pipeline, a popular tourist stop, was mortally damaged in July when an unknown axeman chipped away an expanse of bark around the tree. There are no clues to the identity of the deranged Bunyan(s).

Directions: Between mileposts 235 and 237 on the Dalton Hwy.
Roughly 69 miles north of the hamlet of Coldfoot, and 120 miles above the Arctic Circle.
http://www.roadsideamerica.com/news/9418

Overall, the northernmost tree [of any kind] grows at 73° N in Siberia according to Wikipedia.

Dahurian Larch

Dahurian Larch, Larix gmelinii, is a species of larch native to eastern Siberia and adjacent northeastern Mongolia, northeastern China (Heilongjiang) and North Korea.

Larix gmelinii is a medium-sized deciduous coniferous tree reaching 10-30 m tall, rarely 40 m, with a trunk up to 1 m diameter.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larix_gmelinii

Northernmost Larch (Dahurian larch Larix gmelinii)
About 150 km west of Khatanga River outfall, Taymyr Peninsula, Siberia, Russia.
73°04’32”N 102°00’00”E is the northernmost location of any tree.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_northernmost_items#Trees

However, undaunted by these severe natural constraints the mainstream [unbelievably] claim that this weird and wonderful collection of world wide wood grew on Axel Heiberg Island because the Arctic was “a warm sub-tropical place similar to the swamplands of Florida today”.

The Arctic in the Eocene

The Fossil Trees of Axel Heiberg Island
Dr. Ken Hooper Virtual Natural History Museum
Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Centre
http://hoopermuseum.earthsci.carleton.ca/forest/eocene12.html

It is known for its unusual fossil forests, which date from the Eocene period.

Owing to the lack of mineralization in many of the forest specimens, the traditional characterization of “fossilisation” fails for these forests and “mummification” may be a clearer description.

It is clear that the Axel Heiberg forest was a high latitude wetland forest.

Over 40 million years ago during the Eocene era, a forest of tall trees flourished on Axel Heiberg island.

The trees reached up to 35 metres in height; some may have grown for 500 to 1,000 years.

At the time, the polar climate was warm, but the winters were still continuously dark for three months long.

As the trees fell, the fine sediment in which the forest grew protected the plants.
Instead of turning into petrified “stone” fossils, they were ultimately mummified by the cold, dry Arctic climate, and only recently exposed by erosion.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axel_Heiberg_Island

However, the story moves well beyond the absurd when the mainstream simply rejects its own evidence that the Arctic was cold during the Eocene.

When we used this to estimate Eocene paleotemperature from our Axel Heiberg fossil wood δ18O results, we obtained predicted mean annual temperature for the site equal to –2.7 °C (± 2.5).

For comparison, mean annual temperature in Dawson, Yukon, Canada, is –4.7 °C; Godthåb, Greenland, is –1.1 °C; and Whitehorse is –0.9 °C.

Thus, paleotemperature predicted for Axel Heiberg Island using equation 1 would have been similar to modern Arctic regions.

However, we reject a wholly temperature based interpretation of our isotopic results:

The Arctic could not have had below-zero mean annual temperature during the Eocene based on climate models and also based on the apparent high bioproductivity of the Fossil Forest during the Eocene.

The extremely bioproductive Eocene Metasequoia forests of Axel Heiberg Island were deciduous ecosystems restricted to a short, intense growing season.

These trees endured four months of total darkness during winter months and gained most of the light required for growth during four months of continuous summer daylight.

Eocene Meridional Weather Patterns Reflected in the Oxygen Isotopes of Arctic Fossil Wood
A. Hope Jahren [Johns Hopkins University]
Leonel Silveira Lobo Sternberg [University of Miami]
GSA Today – January 2002
http://www.geosociety.org/gsatoday/archive/12/1/pdf/i1052-5173-12-1-4.pdf

However, an simple analysis of the mainstream data clearly reveals the story behind the Axel Heiberg Island “mummified” trees.

Comparison of cellulose d18O values

Comparison of cellulose δ18O values in modern trees (blue circles) across a wide range
of latitude, modern Metasequoia wood from Japan (green circles), and fossil Metasequoia wood from Fossil Forest site (red diamonds).

Eocene Meridional Weather Patterns Reflected in the Oxygen Isotopes of Arctic Fossil Wood
A. Hope Jahren [Johns Hopkins University]
Leonel Silveira Lobo Sternberg [University of Miami]
GSA Today – January 2002
http://www.geosociety.org/gsatoday/archive/12/1/pdf/i1052-5173-12-1-4.pdf

An estimated trend line [based upon the δ18O values in modern trees (blue circles)] very clearly indicates than NONE of the Axel Heiberg Island Metasequoia cellulose (red diamonds) grew [in-situ] at 80° N.
Cellulose d18O Analysis
This very strongly implies that ALL of the Axel Heiberg Island Metasequoia wood (red diamonds) is flotsam deposited by a series of catastrophic tidal waves.

This implication is supported by:
a) The numerous thin debris bands in the stratigraphy [see above].
b) The mainstream commentary regarding recurrent “great floods”.
c) The radiocarbon dating of driftwood from the Arctic Ocean coast of Ellesmere Island

These flora were not permineralised because of the way they were buried.
While they were still living in the Eocene, the forests were covered by silt filled flood waters. The silt blocked out the mineral rich water and protected the flora from being replaced with the silica in the water.

These great floods were not a yearly occurence.
Instead they occured perhaps every 10,000 years.

It was this flooding that preserved what the forest was like.
After the floods, a new forest would grow on top of the old one.
There were at least 19 such events on Axel Heiberg Island.

The Fossil Trees of Axel Heiberg Island
Dr. Ken Hooper Virtual Natural History Museum
Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Centre
http://hoopermuseum.earthsci.carleton.ca/forest/eocene14.html

Radiocarbon dates on driftwood from the

Changes in Driftwood Delivery to the Canadian Arctic Archipelago:
The Hypothesis of Postglacial Oscillations of the Transpolar Drift
Arthur S. Dyke, John England, Erk Reimnitz and Helene Jette
(Received 4 April 1996; accepted in revised form 7 August 1996)
Arctic – Volume 50 #1 – March 1997
http://pubs.aina.ucalgary.ca/arctic/Arctic50-1-1.pdf

Intriguingly, the trend line indicates that the Axel Heiberg Island Metasequoia trees (red diamonds) grew [on average] at 55° N and this is approximately 20° north of their current habitat.

This opens up the possibility that the “great floods” were caused by a series of “jerks” that altered the axial tilt of the Earth from [say] 3° to its current value of about 23°.

An antediluvian Earth [with a 3° axial tilt] would have experienced a far more equitable climate [with an expanded equatorial climate zone] that may have enabled Metasequoia trees to flourish between 50° N and 60° N.

This conjecture is supported by “mummified” tree ring observations from Ellesmere Island where the growth pattern is seen to be very crisp, clear and evenly defined whilst also lacking the discolouration [that is frequently seen in modern day tree rings] associated with frost damaged cells.

Ellesmere Island - Tree Rings

Mummified Forest Found on Treeless Arctic Island – Mason Inman
National Geographic – 17 December 2010
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/12/101217-mummified-forest-canada-science-environment/

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Gallery | This entry was posted in Catastrophism, Earth, Greenland, Inventions and Deceptions, Radiocarbon Dating. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to The Axel Heiberg Absurdities

  1. Pingback: The Ellesmere Embarrassments | MalagaBay

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  4. Evan Birchard says:

    A point of clarification. This article mentions that the fossilized forests on Axel Heiberg were “discovered” in 1985. Imperial Oil and Panarctic drilled near the Mokka fiord in the late 60-early 70’s in which I was involved and we examined a number of the sites at the time. They were well known by oil company people and the helicopter pilots.

  5. Brian Woodley says:

    I was there in 1980 and they were well known by then.

  6. malagabay says:

    There are old reports suggesting fossilized wood has been found on Greenland but I have yet to find a well documented example, diagram or photograph.

    Therefore, any source suggestions or photographs would be very welcome!
    Many Thanks – Tim

  7. Ted Palamarek says:

    Evan is correct about the fossilized wood being found in the late 60’s or early 70’s. I was up there to flight check Imperial Oil’s VOR/DME and conversed with some of their geologists and they mentioned finding fossilized trees. I believe a cypress tree was mentioned.

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