Scientists in the Greek island of Lesbos say they have found a petrified tree that has remained intact under pyroclastic ash for 20 million years.
The tree fossil was found during roadwork in an area where an ancient forest became petrified millions of years ago. The specimen was transported from the site by using a flexible device, known as a splint, that maintains fragile objects safely as they are moved around.
Scientists say this is the first time an item like this has been found in such good condition, complete with branches and roots, since excavations at the site began in 1995.
The tree is about 19 meters long, and is said to have been preserved due to the thick layer of volcanic ash that covered it after it fell.
The petrified forest is the result of a volcanic eruption that took place 20 million years ago. The eruption is said to have smothered the entire island’s subtropical ecosystem in lava.
In addition to the tree, a large number of fossilized fruit tree leaves and animal bones from that time, were found in the general area.