The first thing you'll notice at Petrified Forest National Park are the dozens of logs lying atop hills as if on display, many of them pointing in the same direction. Closer up you can see the colors in the wood--reds, greens, yellows, blues, and purples, all of them rich and moist-looking like wet paint. The colors might tempt you to touch the wood, and if you do you'll find that it isn't wood at all, but cold, hard stone.
About 225 million years ago these petrified trees were enormous conifers growing in a tropical forest. Floods swept them into large rivers, tearing off their branches in the process. Eventually the trees bottomed out in the shallow waters of the floodplain, where silt, mud, and volcanic ash buried them. Because almost no oxygen could reach the entombed trunks, they were slow to decay. Silica from the ash gradually permeated the trunks, replacing or filling the wood's cells before eventually leaving quartz in its place. Minerals such as iron and manganese...more local info
- Visit one of the world's largest and most colorful displays of petrified wood. The Painted Desert's many-hued badlands are of archeological interest....