Prehistoric Forest Hidden Under Sand for 7,000 Years Revealed After Winter Storms

The petrified forest dates back several thousand years. Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council

Recent winter storms in the UK have unearthed an ancient forest hidden beneath the English coastline for the past 7,000 years. Dozens of petrified tree stumps are now visible on the shoreline of the English town of Redcar, a reminder of just how drastically the landscape has changed over the course of several thousand years.

The "Beast from the East" storm on February 26, followed by storm Emma on March 2, resulted in massive sand shifting in England. Although previous sand shifts have exposed the forest stumps in the past, residents of the town believe this is the most that the stumps have ever been exposed. The rare and fascinating sight caused tourists from all over to flock to the English seaside town to check out the ancient tree remains. However, according to Mark Malik, Communications Officer for the Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, there's no saying how long the remarkable stumps will remain visible.

"It is expected they won't be visible for very long as the tides will begin to wash sand back over them," Malik told Newsweek .

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The forest dates back to the late Mesolithic period, also known as the Middle Stone Age. This time period is dated from 10,000 BCE to 8,000 BCE. In this time, humans began to enjoy warmer temperatures and the last ice age came to an end. Here, humans used archaic rock tools and continued the cave painting art that had begun in the previous Paleolithic Period.

Tourists of all kinds have gathered to check out the sight. Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council

It was also during this time that humans began to grow crops and domesticate animals.

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The wooden stumps of the ancient forest are petrified, meaning they have turned to stone and are considered a type of fossil. According to How Stuff Works, petrification occurs when groundwater flows through wood and other plants, and replace the original plant parts with different types of minerals. As a result, the wood becomes fossilized and looks nearly identical to the original form.

The forest will likely be hidden again in time. Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council