The discovery of a 40,500-year-old log during the construction of a new power station may shed light on an unexplained…

The discovery of a 40,500-year-old log during the construction of a new power station may shed light on an unexplained worldwide event that may have triggered significant changes to the planet’s climate.

The 60-ton log might contain the key to understanding the historic Laschamp Event, in which the earth’s north and south poles swapped positions around 40,000 years ago.

Following substantial excavation effort, the Kauri log was discovered 9 meters beneath the surface on an island in Northern New Zealand and handed over to the local Maoris. Before the 16-meter log came into view of the workmen, 900,000 cubic meters of earth had to be dug out.

 

The tree was discovered to be 40,500 years old, piqueing the interest of scientists studying the Laschamp Event, a’magnetic inversion’ in which the Earth’s north and south magnetic poles changed locations around 41,000 years ago.

Experts are eager to investigate the radiocarbon levels in tree rings to determine the precise timing and the length of time the reversal lasted.

They also believe that a magnetic field reversal and a decrease in the strength of Earth’s magnetic field, which allowed more solar radiation to reach the planet’s surface, may have had a significant impact on the planet’s climate.

“This tree is crucial; we’ve never found one of this age before,” said University of Waikato scientist Alan Hogg, who also underlined that the finding was purely by chance, adding that this may be the key in future research.

According to Hogg, the tree was likely between 1500 and 2000 years old when it perished, based on its size. It has since been relocated to a nearby region of Ngwh Marae (holy place), where the hap (a Maori division) had a ceremony to welcome it to their care.

The tree being returned to its rightful owner, rather than as a gift, was a “wonderful recognition,” according to Richard Woodman, chairman of the Ngwh Trusists committee.

Richard Woodman, chairman of the Ngwh Trusists group, said it was a “wonderful recognition” from Shaw that the tree had been returned to its original owner and not given as a gift.

The log’s transportation necessitates strenuous labor, since parts as long as 1.5 meters must be chopped off at both ends in order to be transported comfortably, and the stump alone weighs 28 tons. Two 130-ton cranes hoisted the three parts, which were then transported 5 kilometers along the roadway by vehicles. The entire process took four hours.