Fascinating Places: Sequoia National Park

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Sequoia trees are the primary trees that have been growing the Sequoia National forest for centuries.  In fact, like I said, they are the oldest and the largest living things in the world… and they are still growing.

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There are a number of National forests in the western United States that contain most of the Sequoia Trees in the world.  As you can see by the photo above, these trees dwarf everything around them.

There were many more Sequoia Trees in the past.  Today, only about 200,000 of these trees are still alive.  Many of them were cut down before they were protected by the U.S. Government when they were proclaimed to be National Parks and Forests.  Most of these lost trees were used to build houses and other buildings in the 19th century.

Some of the Redwood trees that grow along the Pacific Coast are actually taller the Sequoias.  However, what makes the Sequoias so amazing are their age and the huge diameters of the trunks.  Just one branch of a Sequoia tree is as big as the trunks of most other trees on earth.

The worlds thickest tree is called the General Grant Tree.  It is 40 feet in width, which is about the same width as an average street.  The tallest giant Sequoia is 310 feet tall.  It is the General Sherman Tree though, that is overall, the largest known Sequoia tree in the world.  It weighs about 6,000 tons and is still growing.

Some of the giant Sequoia were known to be almost 4,000 hears old.  That means they were alive during the time that the ancient Egyptian pyramids were being built.  Many wonder how these trees managed to live so long.  The reason is mostly because of their wide but shallow root systems.  Because of their characteristics, their root systems allow the trees to drink and store a huge amount of water in their gigantic trunks.  The trunk of a Sequoia tree can hold about 8,000 gallons of water at any given time.  Another reason for their longevity are their thick barks. These thick barks are excellent protection from insect infestation as well as being fire resistant.

It is amazing, by the way that these huge trees grow from very small seeds.  A Sequoia pinecone is about 4 to 6 inches long.  Their seeds are about one sixteenth of an inch long.  In fact, the seeds themselves are so small that it would take about 123,000 of them to weigh just 1 pound.

The Sequoia tree was named after Sequoia, who was the Cherokee Indian who invented the Cherokee written alphabet.  Sequoia was born in about 1770 and died in 1843.

One can only regard these trees with awe for their majesty.  We must do all we can to protect these natural wonders of our natural world.  New challenges these trees face are changing climates due to global warming and pollution.

Check out my other articles in my Fascinating Places series:

Fascinating Places: The Great Pyramids of Egypt

Fascinating Places: Mesa Verde National Park

Fascinating Places: Angel Falls

Fascinating Places: the Tomb of Qin Shi Huang Di

Fascinating Places: the Ancient City of Petra

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