Friday, May 7, 2010

Ghost Forest: Oregon's Ancient Tree Stumps

Beach combing is one of my most favorite of past times. You find so many things.

The Oregon coast has been a very active geologic and geomorphic area for many thousands of years. Earthquake subsidence, Lake Missoula outflow, Tsunami depositions, giant coastal slumps, these and other geomorphic mechanism at different times over thousands of years have buried standing forest along the shore almost instantaneously.

Click these photos to enlarge them and you can easily see the layers left by these type of activities. These cliffs North of Yachats, Oregon are 15 feet high and are now being eroded back from the beach by wave and tidal action. As they go they are uncovering stumps and roots of ancient trees submerged and buried from 2,000 to 10,000 years ago.

The stumps in this blog are 2 to 3 feet wide.

They have been covered by all of the sediment layers shown in the cliff photos since they were buried.

There are several prominent "Ghost Forest" along the Oregon coast. These pictures are of one that doesn't seem to be recorded anywhere.

Some of the Ghost Forest stumps may look like just old limbs or trees washed up onto the beach. Closer examination however may reveal that they are actually the ancient submerged root system in the process of being uncovered.

It is a strange feeling to find these things along the beach, especially when and where you aren't looking for them.

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