I’ve turned the quilting page of my retrospective diary detailing our New Zealand trip of December 2011 and January 2012.
We are still in the Kauri museum and are back looking at these amazingly massive trees.
I noticed that there are some containers of liquid sitting on top of one of the biggest logs… and found some information boards close by telling me why these containers are necessary.
What’s happening on top of the log? …Log preservation. The trunk or log of a living tree has water being pumped though part of it (sapwood) and oil and resins being stored in other parts (heartwood).
When a tree is cut down the log starts to dry out. Frequently one of the side effects of this are cracks appearing in the wood. It’s a bit like your skin getting too dry and sometimes cracking.
This log has been on display for several decades and has dried out. In order to prevent more cracks from forming we are injecting back into he wood some wood “moisturising lotion” called polyethylene glycol (PEG for short) .
Basically we have set up four canisters on top of the log filled with PEG. From each canister there is a feed pipe leading into a hole which has been drilled about one third of the way through the trunk. We are monitoring how much PEG is being adsorbed but expect this process to take over six months.
Another thing we have done is to “seal” the end of the log so that further moisture loss is prevented. We how that by doing this we can keep the log looking good for many more decades.
I also found it interesting to see the saw that cut this tree down… in fact the saw was so long that I had a hard job fitting all of into the frame.
Further down there are more large logs, but this one is no longer solid near the centre and I learn:
The hollowing out of some of the large trees eventually lead to their death. In recent years two very large trees, both larger than Tane Mahuta (which is also hollow), have collapsed. Those were Toronui (Waipoua Forest) and Kopi (Omahuta Forest)
It was found that they were quite hollow and the outer wood was unable to hold up the heavy tree tops. Each has reached the age of approximately 2000 years. This log was taken out of the Herekino State Forest as a dying tree.
Last on my list of unusual bundle of miscellaneous Kauri facts… here is some amazing Swamp Kauri… these are the giant fallen trees have have been incarcerated in bogs of Northland and the Coromandel and been preserved still as beautiful timber. Forty-five thousand years underground just starts to blow my mind as to the time-scale that these trees have been on the planet…
Then I read something that almost made my brain fuse… more Kauri, this time uncovered in massive fossilized state within the seam of the Yallourn Open cut coal mine in Victoria, Australia. If I thought that 45.000, years old was old then I was floored by the next bit… this fossilized Kauri has spent around 30 million years underground! Even more amazingly, they took a piece of it and a wood turner was able to put it onto a lathe and make this little pot out of it… still wood after thirty million years!