Wednesday, April 24, 2013

U is for Unga Island Petrified Forest

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Unga Island is one of the most interesting things I've learned about while researching Alaska. Part of the Aleutian Chain of islands, Unga Island's northwest corner is covered with black, yellow, and gray petrified tree stumps.

The Aleutian Islands are treeless, but the Unga forest suggests that the islands once supported  a forest filled with the ancestors of the California redwoods. The forest is believed to be either sequoia, found in Northern California, or metasequoia, now found primarily in China. Neither tree could survive in Alaska's current climate.

Scientists believe the trees date back about 25 million years to the Miocene or Oligocene epochs. The earth was considerably warmer during these times, which allowed the trees to thrive on the now stormy and windswept Aleutians.

The majority of the forest sits below the tide line and therefore can only be seen when the tide goes out. The stumps cover about five miles of beach, and have been described as looking as if they are marching into the ocean.

I'd love to see these marching stumps someday!

My A-Z theme of Alaska is inspired by my debut novel, Polar Night, which is set in Fairbanks and the Alaskan Arctic. Click here for all the info on the book.



52 comments:

  1. Wow, that is quite spooky and very interesting. I imagine they would look like some kind of decimated army.

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  2. This is exciting. Talk about an intriguing lesson in climate change.

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  3. That would be a nice trip totake some day. In summer of course.

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  4. Very cool! The history there is fascinating.

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  5. That is really wild. Surprised they've survived being underwater for so long.

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  6. I like eerie out of the way places like this. Sounds like it would be a pain to visit, tho.

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  7. You've given us interesting facts concerning Alaska and I've enjoyed them all. These petrified tree stumps are intriguing. Makes you think about global warming...

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  8. @Nick, that's what I thought too. Very cool but also creepy.

    @Sheena, I know, it's interesting, isn't it?

    @LynnMarie, of course, LOL.

    @Dani and Jax, I agree.

    @Alex, I know, it's so strange.

    @David, yeah, I doubt I'll ever make it there but it sure was interesting to read about.

    @Cathrina, so glad you've enjoyed them, I've had fun learning so much about the state. Thanks!

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  9. I would like to see them as well!

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  10. This is fascinating. When I read about stuff like this it makes me want to know what happened. The big talk was that the Redwoods are unique to that spot in the world. And yet they might have also been in Alaska.

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  11. Fascinating stuff. You know, when I saw the Petrified Forest in Arizona, I was young, and I don't think I appreciated how truly interesting it was. Looking at your picture, I really get it in a different way.

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  12. Wow- fascinating. I love stuff like this-- carries the imagination and reminds us our world is constantly changing and never stagnant.

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  13. @Al, maybe we will both get to see them someday. :)

    @Donna, I know, I want to know the same.

    @Inger, I've never seen a petrified forest, that must be something to see.

    @Julie, I totally agree.

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  14. Wow! my mouth is haning open... which is no good lol

    So very interesting, I would definitely love to see it someday too.

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  15. @SK, Haha, are you alone at least? LOL.

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  16. On my to see list too!

    Great posts!

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  17. SO much intriguing information about Alaska and its islands.

    I would love to see these too!

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  18. Very cool and sort of eerie, too :)

    Alaska has a lot of mystery too it and you picked a great place as the setting for Polar Night :)

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  19. It always amazes me to see the evolution of our world in something as small as tree stumps. I like imagining the time when they were an enormous forest.

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  20. That is so interesting! Things like that remind you that the earth changed, and is still changing.

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  21. wow. curious! I'd love to know the mystery behind those petrified trees.
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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  22. This looks like something out of The Twilight Zone! Another interesting Alaskan destination.

    Julie

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  23. @Michael, it really must be an amazing place.

    @Mark, I agree, it is eerie. Thank you!

    @Johanna, me too, I think it's fascinating.

    @Gwen, so true!

    @Nutschell, I would too.

    @Julie, oh, it really does! Kind of creepy. :D

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  24. So, Alaska used to be warm? I guess the only thing we can count on is change!

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  25. @Elizabeth, good point! It's weird, isn't it?

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  26. What a haunting landscape. Cool.

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  27. Wow! That is really cool! You did some awesome research. I would love to see that place too.

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  28. That is so cool! I never knew that existed either. Another stop to add on to my Alaska tour. :)

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  29. Wow I bet it's an amazing sight! Been learning so much here this month!

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  30. Oh how cool! It must've been so fun uncovering all this stuff in your research.

    Glad to see you found your award over at my place. :)

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  31. I've suddenly been put in mind of a book I read as a child called Island of the Blue Dolphins where the Aleutians are mentioned and came to my notice for the first time. I just loved that book and still have a yellowing copy of it! Anyways those old trees are spooky sounding! It seems climate change is nothing new!! lol

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  32. This sounds really cool! Thanks for sharing.

    www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

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  33. I didn't know about these. They would be a spectacular sight. It makes you wonder, considering the climate changes and changing ocean depths, what we might find on the ocean floors if we could travel down far enough?

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  34. Fascinating or should that be petrifying!

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  35. I would love to visit there, and basically everywhere in Alaska about which you have written!!

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  36. Fascinating. we have a living stump here in OR. And a lava cast forest. I was really bummed when it turned out not to be an actual forest.

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  37. That actually looks kinda creepy. Like a tree stump graveyard. But still fascinating to think how old they are.

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  38. Wow. Never knew about this and I actually lived in Alaska for a few years and still visit.

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  39. This looks amazing! I would love to see them some day. :)

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  40. @LG, isn't it? I just love it.

    @Tyrean, it was fun research to do!

    @Christine, I'm adding it to my someday tour too. :D

    @Pk, I've been learning a ton too LOL.

    @Nicki, that award was a great surprise, thanks again!

    @Carolyn, oh, I've never heard of that book. I'm curious to look it up now, wonder if it's still available.

    @Carol, it could use some tiki huts, no doubt.

    @Gina, my pleasure!

    @Laura, oh, I've always wondered about that. I think the ocean is so fascinating. But I'm totally claustrophobic so I'd never make it in those deep diving things they have now LOL.

    @Rosalind, I guess both LOL.

    @Susan, that's just what I thought. Maybe someday!

    @Mary, oh, the lava cave still sounds cool.

    @Elise, that's a great description of it, it is kind of eerie.

    @DL, oh, that's interesting! I've never been but I've loved learning about it.

    @Sarah, glad you liked it, thanks!

    @Rebecca, me too. :)

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  41. My husband and I visited the petrified forest in Arizon a few years ago. It's fascinating and colorful, and oddly beautiful.

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  42. Very cool! That would make an excellent setting for a scene.

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  43. Nature is just amazing. No telling what other strange occurrences have gone on on this world. Writer’s Mark

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  44. Oh! I love petrified forests. They are so amazing!

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  45. That's a haunting sight, but at the same time it looks peaceful.

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  46. That's really interesting! I think I saw something similar on t.v. once, although the trees were black and in Wales. :-)

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  47. @Patricia, oh I would love to see that.

    @Melissa, wouldn't it?

    @Nancy, I totally agree.

    @Lynda, I think so too, so interesting.

    @Medeia, it really does, so true.

    @Misha, oh, I would be curious to know about the forest in Wales too, interesting.

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  48. Hi Julie .. I love forgotten forests ... Penzance Bay is full of trees - now submerged .. and other places too.

    Having recently posted about the Earth .. my thought is that the American/Asian continents were further south - near the tropic of Cancer .... so the forests did walk north ...

    I can't believe how far the continents have moved - that why we have coal .. those were forests!

    Cheers Hilary

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  49. @Hilary, oh, that makes sense, probably what happened. I think it's so fascinating to imagine!

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Thank you for your comments!