Posts tagged ‘trees’

Is ancient redwood tissue and antique glass technically a liquid?

Copyright 2009 ~ Mario Vaden

Huge coast redwood tree at Jedediah Smith redwoods

A large and very old redwood tree with unusually shaped growth next to the trunk.

Ever had any friends in the window cleaning business who told you that glass is really a liquid, and slowly flows over decades or centuries. Even historic buildings like churches have thicker panes at the bottom. So is this true? I’ll get back to that.

The tree in the photo is a very old coast redwood near the Grove of Titans. Can you see growth alongside the left side of the trunk? It does have a sprouted stem on top of it, and its not apparent if some part of it was a dangling branch at one point in time. But its laying to tight against the main trunk to be just a branch. In some ways it looks like a growth sometimes referred to as a lignotuber, more so than a burl.

In Jedediah Smith Redwoods, and other redwood parks, the redwood trees occassionally make this kind of growth, which almost seems like flowing tissue, as if it were wooden lava. Flowing so slowly that its undetectable to the human eye. Similar to how icicles form over weeks or months,

Whatever you want to call this, and however long it takes, it does not flow, and there is nothing liquid about the state of the wood tissue. It’s all a matter of cell division and growth, but sort of unusual compared to many we see along the trail.

Likewise, glass is not a liquid, but is solid. Glass is generally classed as an amorphous solid rather than a liquid, having all mechanical properties of a solid.

In historic buildings, the antique glass which is centuries old, was made by glass blowers who spun glass, causing the edges to be slightly thicker. It did not flow thicker at the bottom of the panes over time, it was made that way. The thicker edges were intentionally put at the bottom of the frame to reduce water or condensation accumulation around the lead. And a few pieces have been found where the thicker edge is up, and the thinner edge down: likely an oversight or carelessness back in that day.

In the redwoods, if you have not seen this kind of unusual growth before, slow down a bit when you hike and look at a few more redwoods. Glance deeper into the forest and see what you can find.

Coast Redwoods

Michael Taylor ~ Redwood Explorer

Michael Taylor in the Redwood Forest

Michael Taylor the Tree Discovery Man: Image Copyright 2008 by Mario Vaden

This is Michael Taylor who discovered many of the largest known coast redwoods along the west coast of the United States, in California.

There should be a page with more information about him at Wikipedia:

Wikipedia: Michael Taylor

He is seen here getting a rough preliminary measurement for a coast redwood or Douglas fir, in the vicinity of Lost Man Creek: Redwood National Park.

Michael Taylor is one of the main characters in a book by Richard Preston, called The Wild Trees. In Forest Giants of the Pacific Coast by Robert Van Pelt, Michael is also seen in one photo for size comparson. And a brief appearance in a National Georgraphic video about the discovery of Hyperion, the tallest tree in the world, discovered by himself and Chris Atkins, in 2006. I am looking forward to Michael launching his own website one of these days.

For more about Redwoods, see:

Largest and Tallest Coast Redwood Trees