The oldest tree in Switzerland

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In 2013, Stefan Ansermet discovered luckily the oldest tree of Switzerland during an evening walk in the Swiss alps.

The 300 million-year-old fossilized Cordaite was lying, undiscovered, on the boarder of a forest road near the municipality of Trient in the canton of Valais.

S. Ansermet in front of the 300-year-old oldest tree in Switzerland found in Jeurs, Trient. Picture: © Musées cantonaux du Valais, S. Ansermet via Le Nouveliste

An article in the August 2019 Journal Swiss Crystal Hunter relates how the oldest tree in Switzerland was unexpectedly found along a road in construction during an evening walk by Stefan Ansermet, at that time working for Nant de Drance, a large hydroelectric project.

Too bad for you, the article is either written in French or in German (the two main spoken languages in Switzerland). Ask me or ask S. Ansermet if you want it.

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The fossilized tree in its natural environment. Picture: Cantonal Museums, Sion; R. Rauber

According to the Natural Museum of Sion, this is the first and only specimen of the genus “cordaite” found in Switzerland so far. If you still want an

This amazing fossilized tree was buried in meters of mud after a nearby stream flooded the area. This way, the massive fossilized trunk was preserved from air and rotting, and the conditions were perfect for petrification/siliconization through the action of silica-rich water.

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The oldest tree in Switzerland. Picture: © Musées cantonaux du Valais, S. Ansermet via Le Nouveliste

Amazing, no? The discovery of the oldest tree in Switzerland is based on two totally random coincidences: the road construction (which by the way split the fossil in two) and an evening stroll… And of course with the eyes of a specialist.

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