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Calaveras Big Trees State Park

Updated: May 19

How do the giant sequoias confirm the global flood?

Application: God's word describes the conditions in the world we see today.

In this Lesson, Dr. Bob visits the Calaveras Big Trees State Park in California. These amazing trees confirm the truth of the global flood as recorded in the Bible.

Supplemental Information

The giant sequoias are an impressive reminder of the effect the global flood had on plants and animals all over the world. Fossils for these great trees are found all over the world, indicating that these trees occupied a major presence in the forests of the pre-flood ecosystems.

An interesting fact about these giant trees: the oldest trees date to about 3200 years ago. These trees are dated using a system called dendrochronology. The assumption of this dating method is that each year a tree adds another growth ring. The age of the tree is then determined by counting the growth rings. As with most assumptions related to dating, there are known errors to this system. First, trees do not necessarily add a growth ring each year. If the season is abnormal (not enough rain, colder than normal temperatures, etc.) a ring may not be added. If the season is interrupted for any reason, more than one ring may be created by the tree. This method is often used to corroborate other dating methods (such as Carbon-14) which only adds to the confusion. It is safest to say then that the age of the oldest giant redwoods is something around 4000 years, just as the Bible says. Even with this caveat, this still means that some of these trees may have been saplings when Noah died, they were substantial trees when David ruled in Israel, they would have towered overhead when Christ was crucified, and have watched nations rise and fall through the centuries. These trees have been silent witnesses to the events since the flood.

The method of propagation for giant sequoias is another factor that confirms the events of the global flood. Their cones can remain inert for over 20 years. These cones may remain in the tree for this long. They may also lay dormant on the forest floor for just as long. Or, in the case of the flood, they may traverse great flood waters. Because the global flood only covered the earth for about a year, this would have been no problem for these amazing trees.

The mature trees of this forest have broad root systems, without a substantial tap root. But this is not the case when they initially germinated after the flood. The development of the young tree utilizes loose soil for germination, where the new tree puts down a temporary tap root until a shallow but widespread root system can develop. This would make the development of the mature tree easier in post-flood conditions.

These trees have few real enemies. Their thick bark protects them from insects and most forest fires. It would take a truly catastrophic event to wipe out a whole forest, an event like the global flood.


Scripture References

  • "Then God said, 'Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them'; and it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good." Genesis 1:11-12

  • "In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened." Genesis 7:11

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Discovery of the Calaveras Big Trees

These trees have been a major tourist attraction since 1852, when the existence of the trees was first widely reported.

The giant sequoia was well known to Native American tribes living in its area. The first reference to the giant sequoias of Calaveras Big Trees by Europeans was in 1833, in the diary of the explorer J. K. Leonard. The next European to see the trees was John M. Wooster, who carved his initials in the bark of the 'Hercules' tree in the Calaveras Grove in 1850. Much more publicity was given to the "discovery" by Augustus T. Dowd of the North Grove in 1852, and this is commonly cited as the discovery of both the grove and the species as a whole.

The "Discovery Tree" was noted by Augustus T. Dowd in 1852 and felled in 1853, leaving a giant stump and a section of trunk showing the holes made by the augers used to fell it. It measured 25 ft in diameter at its base and was determined by ring count to be 1,244 years old when felled. A section of the trunk was toured with little fanfare while the stump was later turned into a dance floor. John Muir wrote an essay titled "The Vandals Then Danced Upon the Stump!" to criticize the felling of the tree.

In 1854, a second tree named the "Mother of the Forest" was skinned of its bark. The bark was reassembled at exhibitions. This mortally wounded the tree. Since the outer layer of protective bark was taken away the tree lost its resistance to fire. The tree didn't survive long after, having shed its entire canopy by 1861. In 1908, with the tree unprotected by its fire resistant bark, a fire swept through the area and burned away much of what was left of the tree.Today, only a fire-blackened portion remains of the Mother of the Forest.

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