Petrified Forest National Park
18 August 2020 | Another bucket list item checked off!
We finally visited Petrified Forest National Park, an area with trees that had been alive some 210 million years ago that went through a stunning transformation that lasted millions of years. The results are multi colored petrified wood that is composed primarily of the mineral quartz. The petrified would gets its colors from trace amounts of other elements like iron. The quartz is hard and brittle and fractures into clean cut segements. At 160-200 pounds per cubic feet, these large sections just sit around in the sun and shine like gemstones.
Petrified wood is found in every state and several other countries but the area around the park has the largest concentration in the world. We also visited 2000 year old petroglyphs and ancestral Puebloan dwellings in the park. It's hard to believe this area was once a lush rainforest but plant and animal fossils tell a story of early dinosaurs and other freakish looking critters.
Towns in the area have used petrified wood in many ways including store fronts, garden walls and decorative arches. When we were visiting an area near Dallas we also saw many homes built with it as well. I'm just thinking lifting those chunks would give one a real workout.
Now that we have completed our goal of visiting every National Park in the contiguous 48 it's time to find another bucket list challenge...
Photos in the gallery