Sunday, May 17, 2015

Geo 1095: May 17, Day 867: Big Doug(s)

I think, but I'm not sure, that these two shots are of the same Douglas fir, at a nice viewpoint along the Proxy Falls trail. A couple years ago, I posted a panorama to show the glacial aspects of the north side of the valley the day after we visited the area. Those shots were taken in between these two, so I had moved to a different perspective between, and Chris and Anne got into the frame for scale in the second.
One of the features that can help accelerate the colonization of barren rock is abundant organic material. You can see there's plenty of it on the ground here, but I suspect most of what we're seeing has fallen off the big tree(s) in the photos. Vegetable debris, such as fallen leaves, needles, and slowly rotting woody material, are very effective at retaining moisture and providing nutrients. These are two of the most lacking environmental conditions on newly repaved volcanic landscapes. However, what we're seeing here likely can't be used to explain how this ground was colonized so quickly, as it post-dates the establishment of the trees we're seeing.

However, unexpected additions of organic matter may provide at least a partial solution to the problem I described in yesterday's post.

Photos unmodified. July 6, 2013. FlashEarth location.

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