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The altitude here reaches 10,000 feet. Much of the plateau is topped by basalt. You can see this volcanic rock in the picture. Aspen groves pioneer tough environments like this. The groves spread by their roots. You can glimpse spruce trees growing up amidst the aspen. Spruce tolerate the shade very well, but aspen do not. Guess what happens when the spruce tower over the aspen. That's right, the spruce forest replaces the aspen grove. Only fire restores the odds in the favor of aspen trees.

Quaking aspen in autumn, near Cedar Breaks, Utah
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