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Paleobotanical Section

Erwin, Diane M. [1], Schorn, Howard E. [1], Smith, Regina C. [2], Levy, Laura M. [2], Millar, Constance I. [3], Westfall, Robert D. [3], King, John C. [4], Moran, Virginia S. [5].

Nevada's buried treasure: The Lund Petrified Forest.

Fossil forests with petrified trees still standing or lying in place are rare. In the United States the more well known forests have received the attention of federal or state government and include the Florissant National Monument, Colorado; the Arizona Petrified Forest National Park; Specimen Ridge in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming; and the Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park, Washington. Although privately owned, the Calistoga Petrified Forest in California is being managed to minimize disturbance to the trees while open to public visitation. Scientific investigation of the little known Lund Petrified Forest in northwestern Nevada has revealed more than 250 mappable occurrences of petrified wood remains. Sites range from pits left from past tree removal by bulldozers and dynamite to large stumps up to 4.5 m (15 ft.) in diameter buried upright in place by a volcanic tuff. This ash-flow tuff is not yet dated, but its position at the local base of the caldera section suggests a Miocene age of ca. 16.0-15.5 Ma. Analysis of the wood structure suggests some of the large stumps are most similar to Sequoiadendron giganteum (bigtree, giant sequoia), which today grows in small scattered stands restricted to the western slope of the central to southern Sierra Nevada at elevations between 1220 to 2560 m (4000 to 8400 ft.). Work is underway with the Bureau of Land Management to develop a plan to preserve the trees for research and recreation by developing means to minimize the effects of freeze/thaw weathering, uprooting of stumps from the overgrowth of vegetation, and unauthorized collecting. Once dominated by a forest of towering giants, today the Lund area is replaced by a high desert sagebrush community, yet another sobering reminder of the profound impact climate change has on the landscape, life and distribution of organisms through time.


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1 - University of California Berkeley, Museum of Palenontology, 1101 Valley Life Sciences Building, Berkeley, California, 94720-4780, USA
2 - Bureau of Land Management, Winnemucca District Office, 705 East 4th Street, Winnemucca, Nevada, 89445, United States
3 - USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, 800 Buchanan Street, Albany, California, 94710, United States
4 - Lone Pine Research, Bozeman, Montana, 59715, USA
5 - Ecological Outreach Services, Grass Valley, California, 95945, United States

Keywords:
Nevada
Miocene
fossil wood
Sequoiadendron
paleoclimate
Lund Petrified Forest.

Presentation Type: Poster
Session: 33-63
Location: Salon C, D & E - Gov Ballroom/Hilton
Date: Tuesday, August 16th, 2005
Time: 12:30 PM
Abstract ID:271


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