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The latest climate change tragedy is… exploding trees? 200-year-old tree explodes because of Oregon heatwave.


Portland, Oregon set a record this week hitting mid 90’s to triple-digits for seven days in a row, the longest heat wave on record in the area. The hellish temperatures hit one tree particularly hard, causing a 30,000-pound limb to explode.

Damage to property was minimal but the 15-ton branch did take out powerlines. Arborists say the tree was perfectly healthy and well maintained by the owners and suspect the limb exploded due to excessive heat. Arborist Michael Jolliff told Fox 12 news:

“Heat tends to cause thermal changes inside the tree in the wood tissues and also the buildup of gases inside the tree. That can be explosive and sudden.”

A similar effect occurs in wildfires. Water and other volatile liquids inside the tree heat up, causing the limb to expand. When the stress exceeds the tree’s limit, it explodes. This heat-induced phenomenon hits big trees especially hard.

The aftermath looks like an explosion too, as the tree spontaneously rips itself apart. And the sound. “It’s very dynamic.” An exploding tree in Stockton, California was reported to sound like gunshots. On resident recalled:

“All of a sudden, we heard the biggest commotion I’ve heard. I didn’t know if it was an earthquake or a train running through the backyard. My wife jumped up and looked out the window and hollered, ‘Oh my God!'”

When residents went to investigate the source of the sound, they found a tree with pieces of its branches littering nearby yards. The force was so great, one of the oak pieces penetrated the white siding of a nearby house.

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