|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.