Quick Fossil Forest
“In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also.”
The devastating blast from the eruption of Mount St Helens, on May 18, 1980, tore down huge, mature trees. Old growth forest was flattened north of the volcano in an area covering 230 square miles. Trees were demolished up to 17 miles away.
Spirit Lake is just 4 miles from the volcano, so all the trees on the hillsides around the lake were snapped like matchsticks. As the landslide rushed into the lake, a huge wave of water was pushed 800 feet up the hillside opposite. As the water washed back, to settle on top of the landslide, 300 feet above where it had been previously, it brought a million logs with it. Even today, 300,000 of these logs are still floating on the lake surface.
In time, the root ball end of these logs would take in water and get heavier, causing the log to float vertically. Eventually, it would sink vertically. There are many such logs at the bottom of Spirit Lake, without bark (which fell off), and without roots, yet standing upright, buried through several layers of sediment.
This formation looks like the fossil “forests” seen in such places as Specimen Ridge in the Yellowstone National Park. At Specimen Ridge, it can be seen that the fossil trees, lodged through many layers of sediment, do not, in fact, have roots. This is because these trees did not grow there. They were deposited there, sinking vertically through water, probably during the Flood.
The area around Mount St Helens is a wonderful laboratory, helping us to understand more about the mechanism and aftermath of the Flood.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for the area around Mount St Helens. Thank You for enabling us to show people how rapid Your work can sometimes be. Help us to be able to show people that what You said in Your word was and is all true. Amen.
Author: Paul F. Taylor
Ref: Taylor, P. (2016), Mount St Helens: A Message for Today, (Toutle, WA: J6D Publications). Image: taken by author.
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