Two giant sequoia trees have returned to the earth from their lofty stance in the Yosemite National Park.
The trees, believed to be approximately 300-750 years old and standing more than 200 feet in height, toppled to the ground some time on February 22 or February 23, 2003 in the park€™s Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias.
The Mariposa Grove is located along the southern border of Yosemite National Park and is home to the largest grove of giant sequoia trees (Sequoiadendron giganteum) in the park. The Grizzly Giant, one of oldest and largest trees in the park, can be found in the lower area of the grove. The upper grove also has an extensive and beautiful mature grove of sequoias.
According to the park€™s Web site, the trees that fell were unnamed and were believed to be approximately 300-750 years old. They stood more than 200 feet in height. They grew not far from the Mariposa Grove parking lot and below The Bachelor and Three Graces.
Park scientists believe that one tree fell from soil or root failure and the other from stem failure. It is probable that one tree fell first and brought the other down with it.
Giant sequoia failures are relatively uncommon. In the Mariposa Grove, a young sequoia uprooted in 1998. Prior to that, the Tunnel Tree, which had been carved out to allow travel through it, crashed to the ground in the winter of 1969. The Tunnel Tree failed due to a weakened root system caused by the cutting of the tunnel; significant snow pack contributed to the failure.
The trees have blocked the walking trail through the grove, but visitors can follow the road to get around the downed trees. No vehicle traffic is allowed in the Mariposa Grove in the winter, so visitors on foot or snowshoes will continue to have full access to the area.