SIA0590: Almost Immortal, Mariposa Grove, Yosemite National Park

Photographer:Calvin J. Hamilton
Copyright:© 2003 Calvin J. Hamilton
Location:Yosemite National Park

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Individual giant sequoias have been know to live 3,200 years. They are resistant to disease, fire, and insects; it seems the Big Trees could live forever. However, the giant sequoia does have a weakness.

Though its roots spread out 150 feet from the tree, they are only three to six feet deep. If you think of a huge nail standing on its head, you can imagine the balancing act these trees must perform to remain standing. Eventually the combination of weather factors, such as wind and snow, and the shallow root system will cause the tree to fall

Even after death the tree decays slowly, often taking hundreds or even a thousand years to deteriorate. This sequoia tree fell about 300 years ago.

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