The bald cypress is a deciduous conifer- meaning it has cones like a pine tree and needle-like leaves, but the feathery leaves turn orange and shed before winter. Native to the southeastern United States, the trees are at home in water and swamps. Stubby growths that occur at the base of the tree, called it's knees, supplement oxygen to roots that are submerged in water. Its knees and extensive root system also help to anchor the tree in moving water and shifting sands.
About a year after Hurricane Katrina, local fisherman started to notice increased activity about 10 miles off the coast of Alabama.
About 60 feet down into the Gulf of Mexico they found an ancient cypress forest that has been preserved for over 12,000 years.
A thick carpet of sea anemones now call this forest home, along with spidery crabs, toadfish, red snapper, grouper and a host of other sea creatures taking refuge in its trunks. The knobby stumps of the bald cypress are clearly visible, and around them a thriving reef has been built up.
The exact location is a secret for a reason, scientist want to preserve it for study, conservationists and locals don't want it overrun with tourists. It would take some digging to find the exact GPS coordinates.
Most theories point to Hurricane Katrina for this discovery, as hurricanes are powerful enough to shift sand 100 feet below the surface of the ocean. Before Katrina the forest was buried, cut off from oxygen, and therefore preserved. So well preserved in fact that if the wood is cut it still smells like cypress sap. To read more and see a video of the discovery visit zme science.