World record petrified tree to become geological tourist attraction

PHOTO: Tak plans to make Guinness World Record longest petrified tree into a tourist attraction. (via Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation)

After being certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest petrified tree trunk log ever found anywhere in the world, officials in the province of Tak are developing plans to turn the tree site into a geological-based world-class tourist attraction.

The world record was verified in July in Tak, a northern province of Thailand lying on the Burmese border. The gigantic fossilised log was measured to be about 70 metres meaning it would have stood as large as a 20-storey building. And ancient – the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment estimates the petrified wood to be about 120,000 years old.

Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Varawut Silpa-archa says the impressive petrified tree should have a proper tourist site for fans of nature and natural history to enjoy the rare find. The site has been officially declared a protected fossil site since 2016 but they hope that the new recognition as a Guinness World Record will pique interest in young people.

They hope that this record, the first in Thailand for natural heritage, will boost the local economy once it’s ready to welcome tourists, and also prompt the nation’s youth to learn more about geology with such an interesting physical specimen to see in person. The wood appears to be of a species still common in local rainforests, the Thong Bueng tree.

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The tree, which measures 4.8 metres in diameter at the base and 1.8 metres in the middle, was originally discovered in 2003 in Doi Soi Malai National Park in the Ban Tak district of the lower Northern province. At the time it was measured to be 72.22 metres long, but a flood through the excavation site managed to break the tip of the log and wash it away, reducing the official length to 69.7 metres.

By comparison, the tallest living tree in the world is believed to be the Hyperion, a giant sequoia in California’s Redwood National Park. It stands at nearly 116 meters tall, about 65% taller than the now world-record-holding petrified tree certified in Tak on Friday. Still, the petrified log is taller than the largest known tree in Thailand, which is officially recorded at 64.2 meters and located near Ao Kian beach in Ko Yao Noi, Phang Nga province.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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