Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post about the painted desert, millions of years ago this land was covered in a lush thick forest. Over 200 million years ago actually. Today, as the painted desert erodes, it exposes the fossilized artifacts of the ancient forest. It is the world’s largest concentration of petrified wood.

200 million year old trees!! Seriously, I had to look it up a number of times to believe that the trees I touched were 200 million years old.

From afar, it doesn’t really look all that impressive. Please click the images to view larger versions.
Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona

But once you get a little closer it is really quite astonishing.
Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona

The petrified wood is almost solid quartz so hard it can only be cut with a diamond tipped saw.

Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona

It is illegal to take any pieces of the wood out of the park and there are severe penalties if you are caught with any in your pockets.
Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona

The national parks always have an introductory movie about the park that you can watch in the visitor’s center. In the movie about the Petrified Forest there was a cute part about all the packages they receive in the mail every year. Packages containing rocks and notes of apology. It seems many people are compelled to return the rocks they have taken.

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    • says

      Hi Russ, thank you! I know it is hard to image dinosaurs roaming the land, and an ocean, a forest – it’s hard to believe that stuff is wood! It’s more what you would expect to come out of a mine and not out of an old forest. Weird.

    • says

      Thank you very much Edith! I didn’t know either, I’m learning so much on this trip, both geology and history. Oh and geography too, I actually know where many of the states are now!! Still not all of them but lots of them. It’s really interesting to travel this way and learn all the stories of the different places. It started with all civil war stuff and slaves and plantations and now it’s all dinosaurs and cowboys.

  1. Nolan says

    Hi Anne. Great piece of work there. Loved those images from ma heart. They’re really beautiful.

  2. says

    Really cool. That is an awesome example of polymorphism. While some of it is quartz, that 2nd shot looks very much like boulder opal. I have a huge chunk of the stuff from Australia, looks just like it.

    Opal and Quartz have the same chemical composition IIRC so not surprising they would be found together.
    A.Barlow recently posted..Shark EggsMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Aaron, no wonder the park rangers are so adamant that no one takes rocks from the park! They seem to come in all sorts of colours. Thank you very much for the compliment.

    • says

      Hi Michael, I know! I cannot quite fathom that there was a forest here. Somehow it is easier to imagine the dinosaurs than the forest. Thank you very much for your compliment.


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