The 280 million-year-old forest in the South Pole

(CNN)Antarctica as we know it is a frosty wilderness covered in thick compacted ice.

But a recent scientific discovery suggests that the vast white continent was home to leafy forests, some 280 million years ago.
During the last Antarctic summer, geologist Erik Gulbranson and a team of polar scientists chanced upon fossils from the oldest polar forest found on the continent -- before the first dinosaurs walked the Earth.
    Now the team is braving the land of ice once more to uncover clues as to how forests once flourished there.
      Erik Gulbranson on site in Antarctica.