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Along flat level paths in the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. Entrance is free, and the opening hours are
Nov - Feb 10.00-4.00
Mar & Oct 10.00-6.00
Apr - Sep 10.00-6.00
What you are going to see is probably the largest plant fossil ever discovered in the UK.
When this tree fell to the ground 320 million years ago there were no human ears to hear the crash. The tree lived during the geological period called the Carboniferous. It was a period of great plant growth. Many plants at that time were growing in swampy areas, and when they died they fell into the swamps. Over millions of years many of these swamps full of plant material became coal deposits. It is sometimes possible to find extremely good fossils of leaves, plants and even trees in coal. The production of many carbon rich deposits during this period of geological history is why the period is called "carboniferous". Carbon-iferous deposits are found worldwide from this period of time, large amounts of carbon rich resources that power our world such as coal are found in the rocks from this time.
The tree you are looking at lived in this period of swamps, but on dry land. When it fell, it did not rot in the swamp, but instead of ending up as coal, it fossilised into stone.
One other interesting fact about this tree is that it has moved thousands of miles since it died. The tree originally lived and died near the equator. How did it come to be in Scotland? The answer is plate tectonics. Plate tectonics is to do with the movements of the outer layer of the earth - the lithosphere. Over millions and millions of years the land where the tree fell has inched northwards to its current location, in Scotland, together with the coal and oil layers that also formed in the swamps and seas on the equator.
This huge fallen tree is long . . . but how long? Each paving stone alongside it measures 90 cm. So how long is the tree? You need to answer this to prove you have been here.
Very close to the tree in the Botanical gardens are some other large fossils. What kind of fossils are they, and what are their names?
This tree did not end its life precisely where it is now in the Royal Botanic Gardens. It was brought here from a nearby quarry, which contains other fossils. You can't use a hammer to dig fossils from this other site, but you may find some on the ground. It is in an unusual place behind a Sainsburys supermarket. (Craigleith Retail Park N55 57,260 W003 14.34). Also look on the wall outside the store to see carvings of Carboniferous tree stems and leaves.
To claim this cache, you must answer these four questions
1. What is the length of the fallen tree?
2. What is its Latin name (see the sign)?
3. What are the other fossils near the tree?
4. What is their name in Latin?
(No hints available.)