Fleeting Wonders: A Petrified Forest Unearthed By A Beach Storm - Atlas Obscura
Our new kids' book is on sale! Shop now.

Fleeting Wonders: A Petrified Forest Unearthed By A Beach Storm

Your average sea squall usually coughs up a few good pieces of driftwood. But last weekend, a storm in Cornwall, England, went straight to the source, unveiling an entire petrified forest normally hidden in the sand.

The forest looks like a tangle of rock-hard, skeletal roots and stumps, all poking out of the sand. At one point, they made up a coastal woods–but after the seas began to rise, the trees became submerged by mud and muck. Eventually, they compressed and became petrified near the village of Portreath. Similar beach forests exist in Wales and Oregon

The submerged forest in Borth, Wales.

The submerged forest in Borth, Wales. (Photo: Richerman/WikiCommons CC BY-SA 3.0)

Cornwall’s petrified forest is revealed when rough seas combine with low tides, which happens every couple of years. Visitors always flock to see these landscapes collide. ”You can see the roots and the branches,” a Portreath Association spokesperson told the Daily Mirror. “It’s very interesting to look at.”

By Monday, the petrified forest was once again hidden beneath the sand, where it wil stay until the next storm releases it.

Every day, we track down a fleeting wonder—something amazing that’s only happening right now. Have a tip for us? Tell us about it! Send your temporary miracles to cara@atlasobscura.com.