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Aug 2015

Top 5 Most Incredible Sunken Forests on Earth


More often than not, sunken and submerged forests occurred naturally, as the remains of ancient trees got buried for several millennia before erosion or changes in the sea level reveal them. Sunken forests could be eerie, mysterious or even appear like an apparition. Some sunken forests still have live trees, but most of them only show dead branches and tree trunks and even stumps that have remained after so many years.

Submerged forests usually refer to the remains of trees that went underwater when sea levels rose. Several of them are found in Denmark, the northwestern region of France and in Britain, where most of them have been buried in sand, peat or mud. However, there are also many sunken forests that have been found inland, especially in lakes, some formed by natural progression while some were caused by humans. Here are some of them.

1. Kazakhstan
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Economically-advanced Kazakhstan is the ninth biggest country in the world, and has an abundance of valuable minerals and vast oil reserves. Among the countries in Central Asia it has better standards of transport, restaurants and accommodation. The country’s capital, Astana, has some very futuristic architecture such as the Khan Shatyr Entertainment Centre and Bayaterek Tower, while Almaty, the biggest city is just like any chic European city. Kazakhstan has mosques, churches, curious land formations, ski areas, lakes and even deserts.

Lake Kaindy
kaindy lake
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About 80 miles from Almaty, Kazakhstan’s Lake Kaindy is very unique. It was formed in 1911 as a result of 7.7 magnitude earthquake. The 400-metre long lake is 2,000 metres above sea level. Its deepest point is about 30 metres, with bluish-green water owing to the limestone deposits in the region, a characteristic coloring that is very different from most lakes. A large boulder blocked a gorge during the earthquake, causing a natural dam to form. Over time water filled the dam and the valley later, submerging quite a number of Schrenk’s Spruce trees growing there. Due to its location, the water of Lake Kaindy is frigid, preventing the trees from rotting. From below the water surface, the submerged trees look more like shipwrecks. From above, the dried out branchless tree trunks look like thin toothpicks poking out of the water.

2. Texas
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Texas is known for being a state where large cattle and horse ranches operate. It is both rural and urban, with bright lights, big cities and yet have a simplicity that is reminiscent of small-town culture. Houston and Dallas are popular for its modernity and rich culture and arts districts as well as a very entertaining night life, San Antonio is the opposite. Texas is where almost all soda pops are called Coke, except for Dr Pepper. The state dish is chili, but huge steaks are very popular. Their burgers are awesome as well. In Texas, the fried chicken steak is not actually chicken but steak pounded until it is thin and dredged in seasoned flour, dipped in milk and egg wash before frying. Texas has beaches, sand dunes, pine forests, mountains, rivers and lakes that give visitors plenty of opportunities to hike, cycle, kayak, and just generally, explore.

Lake Caddo
caddo lake
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Speaking of forests, Lake Caddo, which is on the border between Texas and Louisiana, is home to the largest cypress forest in the world. While trees on most submerged forests are dead, the cypress trees in Lake Caddo are still alive. The baldcypress, which grows on land and swampy areas could live for more than 1,000 years. When the trees are in the water, they develop woody growths above the water called cypress knees. These are parts of the tree’s root system, stabilising it and giving it structural support. The lake, the only natural lake in Texas, is estimated to have been formed courtesy of an earthquake in 1812 and the partially submerged age-old cypress trees that grow in groves and draped with moss look both mystical and mysterious.

3. Cambodia
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The main draw for Cambodia is the centuries-old Angkor Wat, a large temple complex in Siem Reap. Cambodia has plenty of Hindu and Buddhist temples to visit, some constructed in ancient times, like Angkor Thom and what’s left of Ta Prohm. Food in Cambodia is cheap and delicious and there are plenty of fruits to be bought. You can watch the glorious sunrise at Angkor Wat or book a sunset tour and ride an ATV. Experience the fun (gasp) of riding a tuk-tuk or visit Artisans Angkok, see artists working on various crafts and buy some of the beautiful and original works they produce such as gorgeous silk scarves and silver-plated boxes. Take a boat ride to tour the Floating Village at Tonle Sap. For a more cosmopolitan feel, Siem Reap has plenty of accommodation options, a vibrant nightlife and numerous spas and restaurants to cater to your needs.

Kampong Phluk
Kampong Phluk
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Touring Cambodia’s countryside is an eye-opening experience, where you can see how rural life in the country goes. You also get treated to almost endless views of sugar palms and soft green rice paddies. At Kampong Phluk, which is within the Tonle Sap Floating Village is a flooded forest. It’s a long line of freshwater mangroves surrounding Tonle Sap. Around it are low hills that are covered with evergreen dry forest, providing a diverse eco-region that is home to various fauna. It is of economic importance to the residents in the area because this is where crabs, shrimps and a variety of fish are caught.

4. Romania
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Romania is very attractive to tourists, particularly those on a budget because right now everything is still cheap. The beauty and charm of the country is of high value, though. Sighisoara is like a medieval German fortified town while the Danube Delta has some 300 species of birds. Bucharest is now a very hip city that is popular among creative people and Brasov and Sibiu, former settlement areas of the Saxons, have very interesting architecture including wooden churches. Romania has several castles, such as the Peles and Bran, painted monasteries and a host of natural and scenic wonders, such as the 40-metre high Rock Sculpture of Decebalus, Bears’ Cave, the Merry Cemetery, and the Romanian Sphinx. Even its winding Transfagarasan Highway is very interesting.

Lake Bezid
lake blezis
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In the region of Transylvania is Lake Bezid. While most lakes are formed naturally, this lake is man-made and has quite a history that is haunting, to say the least. A dam construction at Lake Bezid was started in 1977, which involved the blocking to a creek. Whether it was human error or by design, water accumulation flooded an area and while the 157 families were evacuated, it destroyed the Bezidu Nou, an important religious site, putting 180 houses, a Roman Catholic church, a forest and other buildings in a 157-hectare area under water. What could be seen right now are dried out tree trunks jutting out of the water, resembling abstract sculpture pieces and the church tower, since the church finally collapsed on 29 June 2014. Human folly had been forgotten and the area around the lake became a prime spot for holiday homes. The lake also hosts several fish species and is now a haven for many fishermen.

5. Ghana
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If you want a budget travel destination to an interesting country, consider Ghana, which is an example of a success story in Africa. Nicknamed as the golden child of West Africa, Ghana’s stable democracy paved the way for its quick development. It has several beautiful beaches, rich culture, diverse wildlife and laid-back villages. You’ll get to sample unique food, see wonderful native art and handicraft and meet wonderful people. For many travellers, Ghana is the first place to visit if you want an introduction to Africa. English is widely spoken in the country. The culture is diverse and the landscape is great. It does not have leopards, zebras and giraffes, but there are lions in Ghana, as well as elephants and other wildlife. There are marine turtles that nest on some of the country’s beaches, as well as parks with baboons, antelope, monkeys and crocodiles. Close to the city are butterfly and bird sanctuaries.

Lake Volta
lake volta
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In the early part of the 1960s after Ghana gained independence, one of the major projects undertaken as the building of the Akosombo Dam, a huge hydroelectric dam that holds back the water from the White Volta River. The dam construction caused the Volta River Basin to be flooded, giving birth to Lake Volta, now considered the largest man-made lake in the world. Hundreds of dead trunks and branches of old trees that were submerged due to the flooding dot the calm waters of the lake. Bleached light gray to white, these trunks, which are still rooted in place remind people that a forest once thrived in the area. The dead trees, comprising mahogany, teak and ebony are valuable hardwoods, but they do pose a danger to boaters as some of the trunks remain submerged and boats often collide with them. A plan is underway to log the lake, since these submerged trees have been estimated to be worth close to $4 million.


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