A tree grows -- in water?

The thread on inexplicable stuff go me to thinking about a weird mystery I encountered a few years ago.

I was at a beach, in about 3 feet of water. It was deep enough that I couldn’t touch my hands to the bottom without submerging my face, and I didn’t have my snorkel gear with me.

A couple of kids called me over and asked if I could determine what a submerged object was. They thought it might be a tree trunk, but there was no way. It had to be a rock, or a lost part of a buoy or something. I reached down, and it sure felt like a tree trunk. It was a round disk, about 12-14 inches across, firmly anchored in the sand. I sure couldn’t pull it up. It didn’t have any hooks or holes in it. I can’t quite remember, but I think I even felt rings and bark. It was exactly as if a tree had grown there and someone had sawed it off a couple of inches above the ground.

The thing is, it was a good 20-30 feet away from the shore. And it’s not like beach erosion had appreciately moved the shore – the beach was pretty much exectly as I remembered it from 11 years before, when I first went there. And even if the shore had moved, I usually don’t see big trees growing in beach sand.

Is there any possible way it could have been a tree? Wouldn’t it have long since rotted away?

FWIW, this is at Inkwell Beach on Martha’s Vineyard.

Sawed off stump of an old pier piling?

Possible a log/stump was adrift, and got beached/partially buried in the beach sand by tides?

Hey, that might explain it! I would have to have been a pretty old pier, but I guess some of them stay preserved for pretty long. It was probably sawed off so it wouldn’t be a danger to swimmers.

Even if not a pier, people put posts into the sand for all kinds of reasons.

I do it sometimes because I like to think someone will find it and think, ‘Who the hell did this get here?’

That was a drain plug. You didn’t seriously consider pulling it, did you?

Damn! Well, we’d still have the Arctic, Antarctic, Indian, and Pacific oceans. Four is still pretty good.

An example of a tree that commonly grows in standing water (fresh) is the bald cypress.

Submerged wood can stay intact for a surprisingly long time:
Submerged logs:http://www.superiorwoods.com/submerged_wood.htm
Basque whaling boat recovered in Labrador: Red Bay NHS : Labrador Coastal Drive

old wood in the sea

I live on a man-made lake down here (fresh water), and the area was mostly pine and oak before flooding (some 70 years ago). Most of the stumps are still out there, many still above the water line, though a great number of them have broken off just at the water line. The stumps that remain, are anywhere from 12 to 40 feet tall from the lake bed to the surface, and are still in very good condition. It can make navigation here treacherous.

Old trees can stay around a long time if they are submerged.

This sounds like a good reason to go back to Martha’s Vineyard with your snorkel gear.

Don’t be ridiculous.

The plug was only three feet down. The water would only drain down to that point.

Fun reading about the Old Man of the Lake, a partially submerged tree stump that has been floating in Oregon’s Crater Lake since 1896.

Could have been a tree.

Mangrove grows in the sea.


An entire forest there submerged at the end of the ice age and still in parts intact in the sea.

I had no idea that wood could stay that well-preserved. And awesome links, thanks!

Yeah, I suppose I should. All in the name of research, of course.

Hey, if anyone has questions about bikinis, I can research those too.

and the good news is that sooner or later all the oceans would drain-cure for global warming! win!