Sunday, July 26, 2009

Petrified Forest National Park

Last week I took advantage of some of my unwanted time off and made a side trip to northeast Arizona to visit/revisit several places of interest that are usually out of my way. I'll call this route the long way from Tucson to visit my mother in Prescott. I've got tons of pictures for several blog posts. Today's post will be some snaps of part of my trip through Petrified Forest National Park.

This barren looking National Park is full of petrified wood: trees that lived over 225 million years ago and have become quartz rocks from minerals in silica-saturated waters seeping into and replacing the wood.

This produces some amazing colors such as seen in the chips above. Petrified wood collected from private land has been used to make incredible bookends, coffee tables, bolo ties, etc. Its heavy too, about 200 lbs per cubic foot.

odd... I'm not afraid of my shadow, but my shadow seems petrified of me...

curvy foot path through the fallen forest

Here's a nice long petrified tree along a paved pedestrian path.

A suitably colored lizard for a colorful log. This area is also rich in dinosaur fossils, dating from long ago, prior to the continents moving to their current positions. As illustrated by the fossils and large trees, this area was once a tropical environment. My how things move about and change given a 100 or 200 million years.

Lots of open space, not a lot of people. The car/camper in the above picture is back at the pull out for the loop trail I'm on.

A cross section of one of the petrified logs

another close-up

still looks a little wood-like, but definitely stone

some of the very few other people I saw during the day... [Park rangers and various people I ran into during my few days in the area said that visitation by americans is way down due to the economy and that main visitors right now are europeans. Of course, that also means its a great time to visit to avoid crowds, accommodation issues, and enjoy some solitude!]

Bird's eye view looking down over a cliff

Stay tuned for more pictures of the painted desert, rock art, and Canyon de Chelly.


  1. We've been there.. It's amazing.

  2. Great pictures, Warren. Thanks for the tour.

  3. really amazing! Lovely!


  4. Andre -- it is, one of those places that would be great to see under a lot of different weather conditions too.

    Catalyst -- thanks, quite welcome!

    Tree -- the colors and the major history (in both recent and geologic timeframes) is pretty incredible up here.

  5. Awesome-I need to go.
    The lizard is priceless. :)

  6. Jen -- that was an incredibly colorful lizard; I wish I had gotten a better shot of it, it moved pretty fast when I tried to get closer to it, no idea what kind it is, I'll try to look it up.


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