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Orientation of Trees in the Yellowstone Petrified Forests

Harold G. Coffin
Journal of Paleontology
Vol. 50, No. 3 (May, 1976), pp. 539-543
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1303535
Page Count: 5
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Orientation of Trees in the Yellowstone Petrified Forests
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Abstract

The orientation of prostrate trees and the long axes of cross sections of non-round upright trees are in general agreement for Yellowstone petrified forests. The only factor normally operating on a level growing forest that might cause such an alignment of both downed and standing trees is a dominant direction of prevailing strong winds. Examination of living forests on flat terrain (similar to the Yellowstone petrified forests) failed to show consistent orientation of upright and prostrate trees. The whole sequence of petrified forests is intercalated between volcanic breccia deposits (lahars). This suggests that the upright trees also may have been moved and oriented (erect stance generally unchanged) by these coarse flows.

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