Ghost Forests

Oregon's coast features interesting relics: stumps that were standing trees, buried in sandy beaches and muddy estuaries.  It's commonly believed that these "ghost forests" were created by rapid subsidence of shore-adjacent coastal rain forest during the Northwest's periodic massive Cascadia subduction zone earthquake/tsunami events, but apparently that's mistaken regarding those on sandy beaches.  They tend to have been buried by dune encroachment.  Other ghost forests found in estuaries were buried by subsidence and tsunamis, however.

Neskowin Ghost Forest is a group of ancient stumps rising from the sand at Neskowin Beach State Recreation Site.  They begin immediately south of Proposal Rock and extend to the end of the beach a quarter-mile or so south.  They are best seen around low tide.  Neskowin's forest is said to be about 2000 years old.

Bobcat says there is a ghost forest usually buried under sand south of Gleneden Beach State Recreation Site.  I grew up in Gleneden Beach, and I've never seen this -- but the level of the sand is changing all the time, and I wasn't the avid beach walker when I lived there that I've become since I moved away.

The Big Stump is a single ancient upright stump rising from the beach south of Waldport, between Governor Patterson State Recreation Site and Beachside State Recreation Site.  The Big Stump is the remains of a coastal redwood, two hundred miles north of the northernmost coastal redwoods alive today.

There is another large mostly-upright stump rising from beach sand just south of the south end of the campground at Beachside State Recreation Site.  It's had chunks cut off, and parts burned.  The wood grain suggests it was a cedar or redwood.

There are at least a half-dozen stumps usually buried in the sand at Carl G. Washburne State Park between Cape Perpetua and Heceta Head.  Park in the Day Use area, follow the primary trail to the beach, and walk northwest across the open sand.  These stumps may or may not be visible, depending on seasonal and daily changes in the way the beach has been sculpted by the ocean.

This article claims there are more ghost forests at

There are other ghost forests in estuaries, much-studied by geologists interested in the history of Cascadia subduction zone earthquakes.

More at,,, Outdoor Project, Statesman-Journal, That Oregon Life, The Really Big One at The New Yorker, The Telegraph,, Google Image Search.

Begun 2019; updated 2021.