The remains of two fossil forrests can be found on the foreshore and in the cliffs at Ihumatao.
There are two fossil forests at Ihumatao both destroyed in different circumstances over a period of 100,000 years.
The oldest a mature Kauri forest had trees varying in diameter from from 70 centimetres to3 metres. Some of the fossil Kauri trees must originally have been giants rising more than 20 metres into the air before branches sprayed out. What killed the first forest?
It was probably a slow death. Logs and stumps from this forest are found in thick peaty sediment. This may have occurred through natural swamp formation in the area with the forest slowly drowning. Logs and stumps are exposed in cliffs at the top of the beach and on the foreshore where the dark sediment has eroded.
Over time the conditions that produced the swamp changed and the land dried sufficiently for another forest to flourish. Trees found growing in this rich peaty soil included rimu, miro and hinau. About 50,000 years ago disaster struck again. Nearbye Maungataketake exploded into life. Yellowish to brown volcanic ash rained down on the trees stripping leaves from branches and branches from trees. The explosive force of eruptions snapped trunks in two. The remains of the forest was buried in ash and lava bombs .
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Thanks for post on my blog, hope to see you soon
Hi there, I just came across this post and your wonderful visit this morning. A little bit late notice, but you may get this in time and be interested, Guided walk, including Ihumatao fossil forest, Saturday 11th June 2016, with Bruce Hayward thanks, ilmars
Thanks for your comment Ilmars. Have moved to Rotorua and haven’t done any work on the blog for a while. Sorry I missed the walk with Bruce Hayward. Magical spot so close to the airport
Cool, we are moving to Opotiki next year, what an exciting and dynamic part of the country, looking forward to exploring Rotorua lots too, 🙂