We recenly traveled to Arnold, California, in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and visited the Calavaras Big Tree State Park. A tree had been cut down and we noticed a strange kind of star pattern in the rings. Can anyone tell us what would cause this? If you've never been to this state park, we hightly recommend it. It was so beautiful! Pictures simply do not do these giant sequoias justice. In the attached picture, notice the young lady near the base of the tree - she is about 6 feet tall. The biggest tree in the grove was over 25 feet in diameter at the base and about 300 feet tall when it was cut down in 1853. When the rings were counted, it was found to be 1,244 years old. What a shame it was not allowed to continue to grow!