SUBMERGED FORESTS

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Whilst reading My Sister’s Sister by Tracy Buchanan I was taken with her wondrous descriptions of the submerged forests her characters visit and not knowing anything about them I wanted to learn more. Join me as I travel (virtually of course, it’s free!) to seven of the submerged forests around the globe.

The forests are created either as a result of deliberate flooding by man whilst building dams or caused by natural catastrophes, such as earthquakes resulting in landslides. More rarely there are the submerged forests that appear and then disappear according to the seasons. I have written about all three variations in this post.

GREEN LAKE, STYRIA, AUSTRIA

Green Lake

This ethereal submerged forest is a natural phenomena formed every Spring as snow melts from the surrounding mountains. The name comes from the emerald-green of the water which raises by 10 m and floods the forest. Beneath in the crystal clear cold waters divers flock to witness the mysterious underwater trees, park benches, footbridges and footpaths. The park itself begins to be restored in July as the waters recede.

Green Lake

LAKE KAINDY, KAZAKHSTAN

Lake Kaindy

This ghostly haunting submerged forest contains huge spruce trees which still retain their pines in the cold water. The imposing trunks rise like supernatural apparitions out of the water, as if still grasping for life.

Lake Kaindy

This 400 m long lake was created following an earthquake in 1911 when a landslide formed a natural dam which filled with rainwater in the valley. Again because of the excellent visibility this lake has become highly popular with divers and unlike Green Lake there are no seasonal restrictions.

Lake Kaindy

LAKE VOLTA, GHANA

Lake Volta

This lake is the opposite of the two previous ones which showed so much life.  Here huge trunks of dead hardwood trees stick straight out of the water in an eerie atmosphere of decay and destruction.

It was formed when the Akosombo Dam was built in the 1960s creating the world’s largest reservoir. Altogether 3,000 square miles was flooded. Following the building of the dam hundreds of people have been killed in collisions with the tree stumps in the water as the lake is a busy waterway for fishermen and travellers.

Lake Volta

Recently it has become part of a massive commercial operation as underwater logging has begun and it is estimated that the total value of the tropical hardwood recovered can be in excess of $ 3 million.

DOGGERLAND, NORFOLK

Dogger land Submerged Forest

Closer to home there is the submerged ancient forest off the coast of Norfolk. The age of the forest is estimated to be over 10,000 years old and it had been part of the Doggerland region which at one time allowed hunter-gatherers to travel across the land mass to Germany.

The lost forest was only uncovered following the storm of December 2013 when tens of thousands of tons of sand and gravel from the buried forest shifted under the power of the waves. Although in more obscured sea conditions this is still a significant find.

Dogger land Submerged Forest

It is believed that the oak forest was knocked flat by glaciers and the compressed ginormous solid lumps of wood are visible. Divers are not only treated to the visual delights of the re-emergence of this ancient forest but also to the array of sea-life, such as star-fish and crabs, that have made a home for themselves in the knotholes of the trees.

LAKE PERIYAR, KERALA, INDIA

Lake Periyari

Enclosed within the Periyar National Park this lake was created in 1895 upon the building of the Mullaperiyar Dam. The alluring apocalyptic scene consists of lake punctuated  with a graveyard of dead tree stumps situated in the midst of the stunning beauty of hills. The park itself boasts a large variety birds and mammals as well as being a famous tiger and elephant reserve.

Lake Periyari

LAKE BEZID, ROMANIA

Lake Bezid

Situated in Transylvania this haunting (and perhaps haunted?) lake was formed during the building the of the dam which resulted in the flooding of an entire village. The villagers were displaced in 1977 to make way for the dam.

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Eerily the former Roman Catholic Church tower dominates the centre of the lake. The dichotomy of the normal in such an abnormal situation lends the area an aura of otherworldliness. The church itself was visible until its recent collapse. Dead tree stumps are dotted around the lake.

LAKE CADDO, TEXAS-LOUISIANA BORDER, USA

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It was a delight to read about Lake Caddo on the Texas-Louisiana border. It is the world’s largest cypress forest and is home to living trees that are growing in their semi-submerged state. The sense of magic and mystic is palpable from the photos alone.

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The lake is named after the Native Americans – Caddons or Caddo – who lived on the land until expelled during the 19th Century. Local legend tells of an earthquake in 1812 leading to the formation of the lake. Besides being a place of great natural beauty it is also renowned for the hundreds of sightings of Bigfoot in the area!

Lake Caddo

I hope you have enjoyed the tour of only a few of the world’s submerged forests. Have you visited any of these? Or perhaps even dived in the lakes? It would be interesting to hear from you. All comments are very welcome.

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28 thoughts on “SUBMERGED FORESTS

  1. Anonymous says:

    Stunning! I was curious about submerged forestes reading, just like you, My sister’s Secret. THank you for posting these wonderful, fascinating photos.

    • Annika Perry says:

      They are absolutely amazing I agree. Whilst reading the book I became increasingly curious to what they actually looked like and hence this post. It really seems to have struck a chord with everyone which is lovely.

    • Annika Perry says:

      They are amazing aren’t they and must admit I had never heard of any of them before reading the book. It was fun to research and learn so much more and I am so happy you enjoyed reading about them too. Many thanks for commenting.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’m reading My Sister’s secret now so it was fascinating to see the photos you’ve put together described in the book. Thanks. 😁

  3. JC says:

    These are fabulous! Thank you for all the effort you put into this. I feel like I’m back in school (a good thing). I should have paid more attention in Geography class.

    • Annika Perry says:

      Thank you and great that you liked the post. I enjoyed doing the research and had so many more notes I could have added but didn’t want to become over long and boring. Ha, if they taught things like this in geography at school I reckon it would be a lot more intersting.

  4. Marion says:

    That was really interesting, fascinating and educating. Thanks Annika for all the research you did to make it possible for us to learn about these magical submerged forests. The photos are amazing! Thanks for a fascinating journey! Kram

    • Annika Perry says:

      So happy you enjoyed the post, Marion. That means a lot to me. It was fun and intriguing to do the research and I could have written about so many more. Glad to have you along for the journey. Kram

  5. Peter R says:

    Totally amazing. That must have taken a lot of research; thank you for the work you put in. The only drawback I can see to visiting them is that it really involves diving. Maybe I should take up snorkelling.

    • Annika Perry says:

      Hmm…I’m not too hot on the idea of diving either Peter. We’re spoilt in today’s world with easy access to such beautiful photographs. I reckon snorkelling at a few of these places would work though, although need a wet suit as the water is so frigid at some.

    • Annika Perry says:

      I like the sound of the underwater gardens, I will have to read more about those. In the novel I am reading it said that the wood was preserved as it was petrified – although I couldn’t confirm this elsewhere. Strange though isn’t it? Glad you liked the trip. It would be something else to undertake it in reality.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Slightly surreal. An unusual subject and an interesting and educational blog. I’d heard of submerged forests before but never seen photographs of any of them. Vey enlightening and I will now look into these further and I want to find out more.

    Mike

    • Annika Perry says:

      So glad you enjoyed the post and found it enlightening. Enjoy your further research and do feel free to share here. It’s very different just reading about the submerged forests and then seeing the photographs – they definitely add that extra wow-factor.

    • Annika Perry says:

      It was a joy looking through the photographs and a real difficulty in choosing which ones to use – so many stunning ones. I was captivated by how surreal so many looked and the the village one is particularly haunting. Very poignant and you can just imagine the normal village life going on before the flooding.

  7. Mirja says:

    I am in awe and also humbled by nature’s grandeur and beauty. Thank you for taking us
    on this virtual travel and for the wonderful way you describe each forest.
    I am ashamed to say that I did not know of these so am learning a lot today and feel uplifted by knowing.
    Austria, Norfolk e.g. are quite accessible so it will now be at the top of travel destinations.
    The photos are stunning and I have enlarged each one on my main frame computer to get
    the full effect.
    Thank you Annika

    • Annika Perry says:

      Thank you for your lovely comment Mirja and so glad you enjoyed the ‘tour’. I too was surprised at how close some of these were and even without be able to dive would be well worth a visit. I believe there are boat trips around Austria’s Green Lake. Don’t fancy cruising around in Ghana’s though, far too dangerous.

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