California tagged posts

Land of the giants

The world’s largest trees have survived for more than 3,000 years, but their futures lie in human hands.  


They are the giants of nature; the skyscrapers of Mother Earth. In Sequoia National Park, some 8,000 giant sequoias rise firmly from the forest floor and branch out at a height of up to 80 metres. Only by placing humans next to their roots can one really fathom their size. The species is not the world’s tallest tree type. Nor is it the widest or oldest. But by trunk volume, it is the biggest.

The giant sequoia grows fast and lives long. As they expand, they produce an estimated 40 cubic feet of wood per year. Most are believed to be between 1,800 and 2,700 years old...

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The rocks that move

On a dry lakebed in California’s Death Valley, stones weighing up to 300kg zip across the surface without human intervention. Despite 60 years of study, geologists are still unsure why.


Ever since the first scientific paper on it was published in 1948, the Racetrack Playa, a smooth desert floor in Death Valley National Park, has had geologists scratching their heads. With irregular frequency, sometimes every third or fourth year, giant rocks travel inexplicably across the surface; some in straight lines, others in zig-zag patterns; others, again, across a certain distance, before turning 180 degrees and continuing in another direction. The evidence is there to see; each rock leaves a deep trail along the desert floor. But no one has ever seen them move.

The surrounding environment – Dea...

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