An iconic 1,000-year-old giant redwood ‘tunnel tree’ has fallen in a storm.
The Pioneer Cabin Tree was located in Calaveras Big Trees State Park in California.
At some point in the 1880s the redwood became a ‘tunnel tree’ when a hole was cut into the bottom of the trunk big enough for a car to drive through. Early photographs show what it was like before the tunnel – and how it got its name thanks.
“This tree has been partially burned, the result of the scorching is the dividing off into several compartments, which are known as the parlor, bedroom and kitchen,” wrote the Sacramento Daily Union of the tree in 1853.
The existing hollow was tunneled through to make it a tourist attraction and compete with similar tunnel trees in Yosemite National Park, according to NBC News.
It had remained a popular attraction for more than 100 years until it was felled by a storm earlier this week.
Photos posted by the Calaveras Big Trees Association on Facebook show the extent of the damage to the tree:
The Pioneer Cabin Tree was a giant redwood, otherwise known as a giant sequoia. These are the tallest trees known on Earth, and can reach heights of 311ft. The Pioneer Cabin Tree was known to be 85ft in circumference.
The tree fell during a period of severe winter weather which has hit California and brought heavy rainfall and severe flooding. It is thought that flooding may have undermined the tree’s shallow root system, causing it to fall.