April 03, 2019
Up until 2006, the tallest known tree in the world was a 369-foot California redwood nicknamed 'Stratosphere Giant', located in the Humboldt Redwoods State Park in California. To give you some idea about its massive size, that's twice the height of the Statue of Liberty, minus the foundation.
But the Giant lost its status when two naturalists, Chris Atkins and Michael Taylor, stumbled upon group of trees in California's Redwood National Park that were taller than any they'd ever seen before.
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Today's Random Fact:
Atkins and Taylor made preliminary measurements using professional laser equipment based on goniometry, and found not one, not two, but three trees that were taller than the Stratosphere Giant.
The tallest of the lot, named Hyperion, was found to be a good 10ft taller than the Giant, standing at a whopping a 379 ft.
When Atkins and Taylor announced their discovery, a team of scientists led by Humboldt State University ecologist Steve Sillett arrived at the park to measure it again. They were aiming for more accuracy, so they used a tape. They actually climbed to its very top and dropped the tape to the ground. The epic stunt was filmed for National Geographic.
The fact that Hyperion is still around today is sheer luck. Only a few hundred feet from its base is a clearcut dating back to the 70s. Clearcutting is a forestry practice in which all trees in an area are logged and the entire area is devastated. Mere weeks before the loggers reached the majestic giant, the valley it calls home was declared a national park during the Carter administration.
However, most redwoods were not so lucky. In the 1970s, 15 percent of America's redwood forest had been logged, and nowadays only 4 percent still exist.