Bengal swamp

The ice age has ended. The ice has melted, and sea levels have risen, changing the shape of the coastlines. The continents are still moving. Australia has collided with Asia, pushing up a huge mountain range. Antarctica has moved north, warming up and supporting a huge, lush forest.

Part of Africa has split off and become fused to the tip of Asia. These two land masses have created a vast inland sea in the area that was once the Bay of Bengal. The colliding tectonic plates have thrown up a volcanic mountain range along the line of fusion, cutting this inland sea off from the oceans to the south.

The Bay of Bengal is now enclosed, cut off from the open sea by the arrival of Mozambique and Madagascar moving east. What were the Himalayas are eroded to low hills.

Water run-off from the mountains has washed fertile sediment into the landlocked sea, making it shallower and rich in nutrients. The sea is a vast, brackish swamp.

The water is thick and impenetrable to light.

Average temperatures are 40oC. Humidity is 99% all the year round.

These greenhouse conditions are ideal for plant growth. Crowded trees and other plants stabilise the mud with their network of roots.

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