New animation shows story behind prehistoric drowned landscapes and fossils in the Belgian North Sea | Flanders Marine Institute
 

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New animation shows story behind prehistoric drowned landscapes and fossils in the Belgian North Sea

Added on 2018-05-11
The latest VLIZ animation film shows how our coastal zone and the North Sea must have looked like in a far and very distant past, which animals lived there and to what extent these landscapes were used by humans. The short film also indicates the marine research that is being carried out to unravel the story behind these submerged prehistoric landscapes and buried fossils. Also how this knowledge can guide the maritime industry and policy makers during major infrastructure works to prevent damage to the archaeological interesting material.

Production: © VLIZ

In this short film one travels in 7 minutes through the history of the last 2.6 million years, the so-called Quaternary. This period is characterized by strong climate changes: during ice age periods the sea level was 100 meters lower than today. The shallow North Sea did not exist then and formed a wide tundra landscape cut through by large rivers, where animals and people lived. During warmer periods, these landscapes gradually drowned back below sea level and were often buried under a layer of sediment.

In the Belgian part of the North Sea the Quaternary sediment layers are very thin and fragmentary. Which means that the prehistoric landscapes and any fossils present are easily disrupted by industrial activities, such as dredging. This is the case in Het Scheur, a navigation channel just outside the port of Zeebrugge, on the Belgian part of the North Sea. Regularly fossil remains of are found there, remains of animals typical for both warmer and colder climate periods.

The animation film evokes the landscapes in which these animals must have lived. The film also shows the marine research that is being carried out to unravel the story behind the drowned landscapes and buried fossil remains. It also indicates how this knowledge can guide the maritime industry and policymakers when carrying out major infrastructure works at sea to prevent damage to the archaeological material.

The animated film is produced by VLIZ and the result of the VLIZ Communication Award 2017. This was won by Maikel De Clercq, PhD student at Renard Center for Marine Geology (RCMG) at Ghent University. Tine Missiaen and Jan Seys of VLIZ participated in the production.

The animated film is available in English and Dutch, and can be viewed online via the VLIZ video gallery or the VLIZ YouTube channel.

Reference: De Clercq, M.; Missiaen, T.; Seys, J. (Ed.) (2018). Prehistoric fossils and drowned landscapes in the Belgian part of the North Sea. Animated movie. Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ): Oostende. 6:48 min. pp. (more)
 

Link: www.vliz.be/en/multimedia/video-gallery?album=5237&pic=130380



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