Frozen in Stone: The Polar Forests of Zealandia


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Frozen in Stone: The Polar Forests of Zealandia 

The vast, icy wasteland at the South Pole may be the last place on Earth you would expect to see a plant surviving, let alone an entire forest ecosystem. However, you don’t have to travel too far back in geological time to see that polar ice caps are not as permanent as they look!

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Straddling the South Pole and nearly twice the size of Australia, the continent of Antarctica lies frozen under an average of around two kilometres of solid ice. There is hardly a hint of soil for plants to get a foothold and, despite its enormous reserves of frozen fresh-water, it has the lowest precipitation rate of any continent. It is by far the largest desert on Earth, and like other great unexplored frontiers of the world, carries an enduring fascination.

AAOD Journal Issue 12 (2014) – pages 52 to 65 
By Dr Chris Mays

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