What would cause this to happen?

Discussion in 'Gymnosperms (incl. Conifers)' started by sgtmama, Jul 30, 2007.

  1. sgtmama

    sgtmama Member

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    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!
     

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  2. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    They're knots from a whorl of old branches. The stump is from a pine, which like many conifers, has its branches in whorls like this.

    PS the largest tree in the Calaveras Grove is the Agassiz Tree, which is still there; it is a little larger than the Discovery Tree was when it was cut down. It's a roughly 3km hike to get to it though (been there, seen it!).
     
  3. sgtmama

    sgtmama Member

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    Thanks for the information. We were very puzzled.

    As for the sizes, I was just going by the literature handed out at the State Park, but if you've seen them, you know what I mean. Truly a marvel!
     
  4. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Checked up; the Agassiz Tree is 74m tall, 6.8m diameter 2m above ground and 7.6m diameter at the base. This compares with a base diameter of 7.3m for the Discovery Tree.
     
  5. sgtmama

    sgtmama Member

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    Was it one of the trees you could see from the marked trail? I would have love to have seen it. Most of the trees were so far away (and we were warned not to get off the trail for environmental reasons) it was hard to tell how big they really were.
     
  6. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    It's at the far end of the marked trail in the Calaveras South Grove; the Discovery Tree is in the Calaveras North Grove.
     
  7. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I thought I'd point you in the direction of the one person who (in my opinion) has managed to capture the majesty of these trees: James Balog. He uses a rope-climbing / suspension system to help take composite images of these giants, incorporating 100+ images into the final photograph. To get just the barest glimpse, visit his site, go to Portfolio -> go to Trees then scroll down on the left.

    Far better is to locate his book: Tree: A New Vision of the American Forest (it's in my library and one of my favourites)
     
  8. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Can't find 'Trees' on the portfolio page, only pics of ice . . . what's the direct link, please?
     
  9. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    No direct link, unfortunately - it looks like some sort of Javascript or Flash app for the portfolio page.

    Here's an example via Pruned Weblog, though.
     
  10. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Thanks! Not sure I like the effect on the background, though . . .
     
  11. sgtmama

    sgtmama Member

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    Thanks for the link! What amazing pictures he has taken. I took some, but they just don't do those magnificent trees justice. My camera takes panoramic views and I tried to use that. It was better, but still doesn't convey the awesome-ness of these threes. The one that looks like it is laying down is panoramic :)
     

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