Saturday, December 11, 2010

Creep Trees

Classic creep trees.
What causes  trees on a slope to grow in the bent shape pictured above?
The short answer is soil creep.  This is a slow down slope movement of the soil that can be caused by several processes.  One of which is frost heave.

  Needle-ice lifts particles of dirt perpendicular to the slope.  When the frost thaws, the particles settle farther down the hill. This repeated lifting and settling moves the soil and other objects down hill.  The slow down hill movement of the soil will tilt trees, fence posts, or other objects like gravestones.  The trees, of course, have a guidance system to adjust their orientation.
The young saplings on the left have yet to correct their tilt like the older ones on the right.
There are many other fascinating processes at work, shaping the landscape around us. 
You will find this book informative about those processes.

1 comment:

  1. Just catching up on your older posts Dana.

    As always I learn something new about the wonderful world around me.