Quoting a sign in Redwood National Park:

Redwoods once covered large expanses of the world. Millions of years ago some of these redwoods were preserved as fossilized trees when volcanic ash buried them. Over time, the trees absorb silica from the ash, creating a stone replica. Where living tissue once was, rock now exists.

In North America, redwood fossils have been found in Texas, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Wyoming, Oregon, Washington, California, Canada, Greenland, Alaska, and St. Lawrence Island. In Europe, fossils of redwoods have been found in France, Switzerland, Austria, Bohemia, Germany, England, and Spitzbergen. You can see fossil redwoods for yourself by visiting Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument in Colorado, or The Petrified Forest in Calistoga, California

Quoting Wikipedia:

The height of S. sempervirens is closely tied to fog availability; taller trees become less frequent as fog becomes less frequent. As S. sempervirens' height increases, transporting water via water potential to the leaves becomes increasingly difficult due to gravity

If you put those two facts together than it seems like either (1) the vast majority of the redwoods that existed millions of years ago fell short of their full potential height or (2) the Earth, millions of years ago, was a lot more foggy than it is today?

If the latter than why would the Earth have been so much foggier?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Great question. I think my first guess is that redwoods help produce fogs? If a lot of the water they need is released via evapotranspiration in a similar way to what Veritasium describes here: youtube.com/watch?v=BickMFHAZR0, then the trees would have created a much foggier environment. Interesting $\endgroup$
    – arkaia
    Mar 20 at 8:27
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Not an answer, but weird choice of the name Bohemia by the national park sign. $\endgroup$
    – gerrit
    Mar 20 at 9:49
  • $\begingroup$ why do you put those two facts together?,why do you think there was more fog in the past the only thing wiki say is that redwood growing in foggy areas get taller. $\endgroup$ Mar 21 at 8:04
  • $\begingroup$ @trondhansen - that's why I mentioned possibility #1 - that "the vast majority of the redwoods that existed millions of years ago fell short of their full potential height". Altho it does seem strange that a plant would evolve some special ability and then not use it 99% of the time. $\endgroup$
    – neubert
    Mar 21 at 11:03


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