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Buried Alive: The Petrifying True Story of a Forest Turned to Stone

A fossilized tree stump on the Gallatin National Forest. The stump is part of a huge forest that was buried in a volcanic eruption 50 million years ago. (U.S. Forest Service photo)

A fossilized tree stump on the Gallatin National Forest. The stump is part of a huge forest that was buried in a volcanic eruption 50 million years ago. (U.S. Forest Service photo)

Imagine nearing the remote, rugged crest of the Gallatin Range in Montana’s Gallatin National Forest. As you scramble up-slope, you put your hand against what appears to be a lightning-blasted stump for balance. But the stump is not weather-polished wood—it’s made of stone.

These are the 50-million-year-old remains of redwoods, pines and sycamores which make up the Gallatin Petrified Forest, where fossilized tree trunks are preserved in so much detail that cellular structures may be seen under a microscope and growth rings are often visible to the naked eye. But how did these trees turn to stone? Read more »

Join the ‘Data Revolution’, Help Lay the Groundwork for Sustainable Agriculture

On June 8th, during the Nutrition for Growth event in London, the United Kingdom and United States governments announced plans to launch the Global Open Data Initiative for Agriculture and Nutrition.  This, in turn, built on the G-8 International Conference on Open Data for Agriculture conference in late April, where I witnessed a successful coming together of innovators sharing new ways to make agriculturally-relevant data accessible to users around the world.  That goal is gaining momentum, and I am pleased to see a global initiative being formed on this critical issue because we must work together to achieve a “data revolution” for agriculture.

But it will only be successful if others come forward to join us, and I hope others will join us as we use data as another tool to help produce and feed people with safe, nutritious food. Read more »