Evidence of Seas and Forests Found in Western Xinjiang

Geologists have evidence that one of China's most arid areas was once covered by a sea with land areas of dense forests.

A geological survey has discovered large amounts of fossils of marine life and silicon wood in the Tianshan Valley in western Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

"The discovery proves that the region used to be a vast sea with land areas of dense forest some 130 million years ago," a geologist attending the field survey said.

The fossils are scattered in an area of six square kilometers. They fall into many categories include alcyonaria, algae, seashells and trees. The silicon fossils date back at least 130 million years.

Fossils of marine life and silicon wood dating back 100 millionyears have previously been found in Qitai and Toksun counties in Xinjiang.

( Xinhua News Agency August 15, 2002)