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Blown apart tree

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Blown apart tree

Postby Scott » Mon Aug 29, 2011 2:57 am

Yesterday on our climb we came across a tree that was freshly blown apart.

Another tree did not fall on it. It is very unlikey from the wind because it was in the middle of a dense forest and no other trees were affected. There were also dead trees around this one and if it was the wind, it would have taken out those ones first.

My thought is that it had to be lightning, but it was strange that there were no burn marks or any sign of burning.

I guess I'd have to go with lightning as being the only possible cause.

I'm pretty sure that it was the lightning, but any other ideas?

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Re: Blown apart tree

Postby kylenicolls » Mon Aug 29, 2011 5:22 am

Pretty neat! I'd guess lightning too. I remember a long long time back my family was backpacking and my dad pointed out a tree top blown up by lightning. From memory it kinda looked like it exploded from the inside but I don't remember any burn marks, just crazy splinter action like that. A long time ago though. I just did a google images search and it didn't seem that there are really any burn marks on any that I saw.
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Re: Blown apart tree

Postby lcarreau » Mon Aug 29, 2011 5:43 am

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Re: Blown apart tree

Postby brenta » Mon Aug 29, 2011 6:18 am

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Re: Blown apart tree

Postby Greg Enright » Mon Aug 29, 2011 7:39 am

I once saw a huge lightning bolt dive into a dense forest near my home. I took a walk to see which tree it hit. Long before I saw the damage, I could smell the fresh sap of the tree. Then I saw huge splinters stuck into nearby trees. The splinters pointed me to the spot where a large tree had once stood.

The tree was mostly gone, but the top twenty feet of the tree had stayed intact and fallen upside down to the ground. The tip stabbed into the dirt with the rest of the tree balanced above. There weren't any burn marks on any of the chucks of tree that lay everywhere, but there must have been quite an explosion to create that kind of damage.
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Re: Blown apart tree

Postby Buz Groshong » Mon Aug 29, 2011 2:27 pm

I've seen a few trees that were hit by lightning and none of them had burn marks. They're usually not quite as dramatic as the one you saw; typically just a strip of bark blown off where it went down just under the bark and vaporized the sap.
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Re: Blown apart tree

Postby MoapaPk » Mon Aug 29, 2011 6:20 pm

I saw a cottonwood hit by lightning, and one of the major limbs and the whole side of the tree blew off, yet there were no burn marks. When I was a kid, an apple tree near us was hit by lightning, and split to a point where you could walk through the gap years later-- but no obvious burn. I guess the fire depends on how dry the tree is, how resinous the wood, and how much energy gets absorbed in turning water into steam. I've seen bristlecones hit by lightning, and they simply caught fire.
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Re: Blown apart tree

Postby lcarreau » Tue Aug 30, 2011 2:07 am

No disrespect, but this tree looks (as though) it was (more than likely) hit by a Hurricane ..

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Re: Blown apart tree

Postby desainme » Tue Aug 30, 2011 4:14 am

Milo a most successful greek in the olympic games wasa well known strongman of his day. His final attempted exploit was rending a tree assunder. The tree halves sprang back trapping his hands He was then finished off by a wolf pack.

My opinion is that a sasquatch is rending these trees assunder. Being stronger than humans, he stands little chance of experiencing Milo's fate
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Re: Blown apart tree

Postby kylenicolls » Wed Aug 31, 2011 6:33 am

Probably the extremely short period of time contributes to the lack of burns. (burning takes time: heat absorption, breakdown)
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Re: Blown apart tree

Postby Buz Groshong » Wed Aug 31, 2011 2:58 pm

I could be wrong here, but I'm guessing that there are mostly two possibilities when lightning hits a tree. The first is what a lot of us have seen; the lightning travels down the cambium layer, vaporizing sap and exploding the bark off with no burning. As hot as the sap may get in that case, there is no oxygen to allow it to burn and after it vaporizes it is dispersed and cools fairly quickly. The other possibility is that the lightning sets fire to the tree. When the tree burns up there is no longer obvious evidence of a lightning strike. I think this is why we see trees struck by lightning, but don't see burn marks.
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