Fractal Oak

November 26, 2004


Provided and copyright by: John A. Adam
Summary author: John A. Adam

This stately old oak was photographed in the village of Woodcote, England (near Reading), in March of 2003. It's about 50 ft high (15 m), and the smallest twigs I could discern were about 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) long. I call this image "Fractal Oak" because of its seemingly statistical self similarity over about three orders of magnitude. A fractal is essentially a fragmented geometric shape that can be subdivided in parts, each of which is, at least approximately, a small scale copy of the whole. Cloud edges and coastlines are just two examples of the many phenomena that fit this definition.

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