Petrified Forest

Gold Canyon, Arizona

We set aside an afternoon last week to tour Petrified Forest National Park near Holbrook.

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The grasslands were once a vast floodplain crossed by lots of streams. As the trees fell, they were washed across the plains. A mix of volcanic ash, silt, and mud buried the logs and slowed the decay because the mixture prevented oxygen from reaching the logs. (Taken from the park brochure.)

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All the small rocks in the foreground are the same colors as the trees, so we assumed that they are broken up parts of the trees or their limbs.
1030141419aThere are three different types of trees that were petrified. This one looks as though the bark petrified as well.
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We literally walked through the logs.

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The visitor center has great displays of both the logs and many of the paleontologists’ finds.
1030141431I have no clue what this is, but she must have been awesome looking and still is even millions of years later…

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This poster tried to explain the petrification process to us non-science visitors.
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The surrounding area is relatively flat.

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Interesting to find a bit of life in such an old thing. Here’s some lichen growing on a log.

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This valley is strewn with petrified logs. This area looks similar to the Badlands of North Dakota which are not as colorful as the Badlands of South Dakotata.1030141512a

Many of the trees are split in ways that look as though they’ve been cut with a chain saw.
1030141452And the best news? This is a national park that allows dogs on trails. Sophie was happy!

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