Letter: How high is a tree?

The centrefold of the April 12 issue of the NRT is a double page ad with questions and answers about CNL’s proposal for the Near Surface Disposal Facility. 

Two illustrations caught my eye. Both are associated with the fourth question: “What will the Near Surface Disposal Facility look like?” Both show trees.

I take these trees as points of reference to help with estimating the size of the facility. Otherwise, why would they be included?

Let us evaluate these trees as reference points for that estimation. The lower diagram provides a scale that can help in determining the size of these reference trees. That scale depicts the height of the mound as 18 meters.

When comparing the height of the tree (to the right of the mound) to the mound, it struck me that this tree must be higher than 18 meters (maybe another nine meters).

This leads me to wonder, are there other familiar structures (besides trees) that could be used as reference points?

One of structures I am most familiar with is my house. So, let’s use my house as a reference point. How high is my house?

My house is a raised bungalow, with a sloped roof. I measured the height from the top of the foundation to the overhang and found it was 2.7 meters. To allow for a flat roof, let’s say it is three meters.

If I take the ad as accurate, then the mound is 18 meters.

By dividing the height of the mound by the height of my house (three meters), the result is: the mound’s height must be equivalent to a six-storey building.

This assumes, of course, that my house is representative of most houses. (A web search on the typical height of a house will confirm this assumption.)

What building in Deep River has a height equivalent to six houses? The answer is easy. It is the six-storey JL Gray building. Thus, the height of the mound is directly comparable to the height of the JL Gray building.

Let us not forget the first picture. In that figure, you will see several trees that appear to surround the mound.

How large are these trees? Using the 18 meter high mound depicted in the figure below as a reference, these trees must be immense. Maybe these are giant redwoods, certainly not a local species.

How high is a tree? I guess that depends on what you wish to show.

W. Turner, Deep River