The Petrified Forest National Park is a United States national park in Navajo and Apache counties in northeastern Arizona. It is considered one of the largest concentrations of petrified trees in the world. The tree trunks in the forest have fossilized as petrified wood and is noted for its agates and late Triassic fossils.
A Spanish explorer is rumored to have named the area “El Desierto Pintado” (The Painted Desert) because the hills looked like they were painted with the colors of the sunset.
The trees in the petrified forest look like someone sawed the logs apart but are actually cracked over a period of time. We were very fortunate to hike throughout the park. The climate changed several times during our visit at the National park. At the beginning of the exploration there was heavy rains, winds and monsoon warnings.
In the middle of the trip is was hot but very clear. It was a perfect opportunity to see all the colors of the Petrified Trees.
Towards the final hour of our hike we were alone in complete silence with the petrified forest and we were able to capture the beauty of the forest and a close and personal view of a colorful collared lizard which makes the Petrified Forest their home. It was a surreal experience for a city girl like me that loves trees.
One of the things I couldn’t help but wonder is how the Petrified Forest was formed. According to the Petrified National Park the forest dates back to 218 million years ago. There was a large river system with coniferous trees, tree ferns, and some gingkoes trees along the waterways. As the trees died naturally, some floated downstream to form log jams.
The mineral silica, from volcanic ash, in stages of crystallization replaced most of the organic wood to form petrified trees. The various “forests” are those log jams which form the individual parks. Today some people use petrified wood as a semi-precious gem. However, it is against the law to remove petrified trees from the National park.
Disclosure: The Latino Heritage roadtrip was partially funded by American Latino Fund, Verizon Wireless & General Motors. The vehicle driven during the roadtrip was provided by General Motors. All opinions and content rights are my own.
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