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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/503

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THE STONE FOREST OF FLORISSANT.

ingly "bald" spot. Over it are scattered white and yellow chips, and, for anything that the eye can itself distinguish, these could easily be the chips left in the path of work of a recently passing woodsman. The deception is absolute, and it belongs to the stump as well. The knots and gnarls and annular rings are perfectly preserved; the bark stands in prominent relief both by ruggedness and color, and all this not in wood, but in the monumental substance of stone. The precise manner in which the substitution of silica for wood was effected can not now be learned, but, in a general way, we know it to have been brought about as the result of a slow infiltration into the tree trunks of heated waters containing silica in solution.

The remains are fairly numerous, but what strikes one with special astonishment is the giant size which some of them attain. Diameters of six, seven, and eight feet are by no means uncommon, PSM V49 D503 A giant stump.jpgThe Giant Stomp. About fifteen feet elevation. and we measured three specimens which spanned ten feet or more. In most instances the stumps hardly rise above the surface, coming up flush with it; therefore, without excavation, it is impossible to say at what height above the roots the measurements were taken. In what might be termed the "king of the forest"—the tree represented in the accompanying illustrations—a definite basis for measurement is presented, inasmuch as the tree has been laid bare to its roots. The stump stands about fifteen feet

high, and at that distance above the roots it measures forty-five feet in girth—a colossus that would hardly be shamed by its more gigantic brethren of the existing redwood forests of California. This, so far as I have been able to ascertain, is the facile princeps