The Lost History of the Tsunami in the 19th Century, Told by Trees


And do not forget the prices. In the 1990s, researchers discovered a “ghost forest” of dead cedar off the coast of Washington; lover of wooden rings confirmed that he actually died in 1700. But Black and Dziak hunted trees that were hit by the tsunami – and he survived. Rings in the trees can be indicative of the effects of flooding.

Finding them was not easy. Says Dziak: “It takes a little while to discover the old coastal forests, and for good reason.” The large, accessible trees near the coast were like gold to the loggers who established the site centuries after the earthquake. Fire knocked down another. However, the team found prices that seemed to match the price: Douglas officials quickly gathered at a checkpoint inside Mike Miller State Park, about a mile from the beach in South Beach, Oregon.

If you had stood near the young men at that time in the 1700’s, you would have heard the earth pound. A few minutes later, the water came in. It would not be a biblical wall of water, but “like a flood of water,” says Dziak. (Here is a video of 2011 Japan Tsunami to be reviewed.) Its color shows a distance between 2 and 10 meters in the center of the park, and depths up to 10 meters. Nearby sand dunes tell Dziak that the tsunami may have ended soon; a nearby pool tells him that the water may have washed away the roots for a long time. In any case, the waters of the lake can also wreak havoc on untouched trees.

To find evidence that the trees had been affected by the tsunami-related damage, Black removed cylindrical rocks from the trees at the site, finally identifying seven people who were old enough to have survived the quake. He shaved sand, everything as wide as a pencil, revealing what was left over from the annual growth. The wonderfully crafted year looks like a huge space between wooden rings; a bad year seems narrow. Darkness switched to each section and everything else to ensure that each calendar year corresponded to its neighbors who, over the past three years, had experienced the same season. “It’s like capturing a picture,” says Black. And it revealed exactly what was happening: The prices of the floodwaters predicted by the entire nation grew steadily in the 1700’s.

Now he and Dziak are eager to test the chemical differences in each tree ring, which can no doubt say that the descent is reduced by seawater. Will Struble, a non-participant geomorphologist at the University of Arizona, agrees with the group’s warning. (Struble and Black have worked together, but have not participated in the study.) Having medical evidence is necessary to substantiate the theory that salt water – not an earthquake or climate change – represented Mike Miller’s place in the 1700’s.

However, Struble emphasizes the importance of such evidence being useful in comparing tsunami floods, since records written since the 1700’s are hard to locate. Struble said: “To be able to go to the field and use the barns as wooden rings to see the truth, these are the colors that I think the strange ones are.”

Pockets of some old old trees along the river banks in Oregon and Washington would be refilled. If chemical analysis were to be done, this device could map 1700 tsunamis beyond representing Mike Miller.

Recognizing which tree that survived in the salt water may be valuable, Pearl also says: “Can old trees be destroyed?” Smaller trees have shallow roots, so they are more dependent on air than groundwater. They can return very quickly, or they can grow better later if the roof closes too late after sunset. “Not to mention future tsunamis, as well as rising sea levels – what species are most resilient to saltwater?” He asks.



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