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Images of a Primeval Underwater Forest Revealed

Primeval underwater forest

Primeval Underwater Forest

(Image credit: Ben Raines)

Deep underwater off the coast of Alabama lies a primeval underwater forest that has lain untouched for millennia. Its secrets are now being revealed in a new documentary, called The Underwater Forest.

Middle of nowhere

Primeval Underwater Forest

The forest lies in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico, far from any topographic features associated with reefs. But when scuba diver shop owner Chas Broughton dove beneath the waves, he saw an underwater world teeming with sea life.

Fish gathering

Primeval Underwater Forest

(Image credit: Ben Raines)

A giant stump in the Underwater Forest is about the size of a VW bug.

School's in

Primeval Underwater Forest

(Image credit: Ben Raines)

A school of cigar minnows feed in the rich waters above the Underwater Forest, part of a rich ecosystem centered over the ancient cypress trees.

Carpet of sea anemones

Primeval Underwater Forest

(Image credit: Ben Raines)

A carpet of sea anemones cover a decaying stump in the Underwater Forest. The longer a piece of wood has been exposed, the more creatures inhabit it, from crabs to shrimp to octopuses. Storms constantly expose new parts of the forest.

Schooling fish

Primeval Underwater Forest

(Image credit: Ben Raines)

A school of tomtates, or ruby-red lips, school over the Underwater Forest. The fish earned the nickname from the scarlet skin inside their mouths.

Cigar minnows

Primeval Underwater Forest

(Image credit: Ben Raines)

A school of cigar minnows feed in the rich waters above the Underwater Forest, part of a rich ecosystem centered over the ancient cypress trees.

Underwater world

Primeval Underwater Forest

(Image credit: Ben Raines)

Stumps rise among logs and branches that once were lying on the forest floor. Around the stumps, you can make out the remnants of the cypress knees that help keep these trees upright in the great Southern swamps.

Ancient riverbed

Primeval Underwater Forest

(Image credit: Ben Raines)

A ledge outlines the edge of an ancient river that once wove through this ancient forest.

Mississippi Delta

Primeval Underwater Forest

(Image credit: Ben Raines)

Cypress trees in a modern swamp in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta.

Hurricane

Primeval Underwater Forest

Before landfall, Hurricane Ivan raged through the Gulf as a Category 5 hurricane. A series of government data buoys in the Gulf recorded 98-foot tall waves before they were torn from their moorings. The waves were the largest ever measured.