Few People Know There's An Ancient Forest Hiding At The Bottom Of This Lake In Northern California
If you’ve lived in Northern California for awhile, it’s more than likely you’ve seen your fair share of old trees. After all, our region is full of some of the oldest, and largest, trees in the world. However, there’s one ancient forest that you probably haven’t seen…because it happens to be underwater. Few people realize that the bottom of this well-known lake contains an ancient forest that dates back to Medieval times. The story of why this underwater forest even exists is utterly fascinating and it can even give us insight into the history of the surrounding region. This is one of those natural wonders that you’ll have to see to believe so keep reading to check it out!
There's no denying that Fallen Leaf Lake, an alpine lake located in El Dorado County, is a beautiful place to explore. Featuring stunning scenery and delightful waters, this lake is a popular summertime destination. However, there is a lot more to this lake than meets the eye.
Believe it or not, Fallen Leaf Lake is actually home to an ancient underwater forest. It was first discovered by a man named John Kleppe, a professor at University of Nevada, when his fishing line kept getting snagged underneath the lake's surface.
Doubtful that his lure had reached the bottom of the lake, Kleppe asked a diver, Phil Caterino, to investigate further. In 1997, Caterino dove into the lake, surfacing some time later with a petrified branch of Jeffery Pine in hand.
Caterino had discovered an entire forest located at the bottom of the lake. After testing some samples, scientists concluded that the forest dates back to the medieval era, from 850-1150 C.E.
So how did this forest get underwater in the first place? Scientists theorize that a 200-year drought overwhelmed the Sierra at one time, leaving Fallen Leaf Lake barren long enough for humongous, 10-story-tall trees to grow in its place.
The water eventually returned to the lake, with a low enough oxygen level to perfectly preserve the trees in an "underwater crypt".
It's easy to take for granted the fact that our beautiful Northern California landscapes aren't actually timeless. They are bound to change over time, due to a variety of factors. This amazing underwater forest proves just that.
The theory summarized above is the one that is most widely accepted among researchers. However, every theory is just that—a theory. The Undersea Voyager Project took it into their own hands to discover where this underwater forest might've come from, and you can watch the video about their explorations below.
Did you know the story behind this underwater forest? Northern California is just full of surprises! For more amazing natural wonders, check out our list of
The 12 Most Incredible Natural Attractions In Northern California.
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