We’ve seen lots of interesting and beautiful sights so far but this is the Petrified Forest, so let’s get to the wood. Blue Mesa’s trail is only about a mile but it’s definitely not a horizontal one. Don’t get too close to the edge and yes, we are going down there. But look. Right in front of you is a petrified log.

Here’s another view from this point before we head down.

The way a tree becomes petrified is that the tree dies, then loses its branches and bark. It falls into the water where sediment begins to cover it. By this rapid burial, the bacteria and oxygen are sealed away so it doesn’t decay but groundwater full of minerals deposits those minerals as it works through the log. The log weathers out of the surrounding rocks where further erosion snaps the brittle fossil into sections. As you can see below, it often appears that some manic creature tossed logs everywhere. Look that big one perched atop the peak in front of you.

Looking a bit closer.

Just as there are Badlands in South Dakota, these are examples of badlands with their striations and color variations, variations due to minerals deposits. The blueish color that gives this area its name comes from bentonite clay.

Here are some colorful examples of petrified wood. No one broke or cut these but they’re both heavy and brittle so snapping is easy. Petrified wood is composed mainly of quartz. But, you may say, quartz is colorless. True, but trace amounts of other elements such as iron mean you’ll see a variety of colors. Manganese, copper, chromium, a/o combinations of them are present in the wood.

Petrified wood is found all over the world but the largest concentration is here in the park. You can buy petrified wood at various places around the park but all of it comes from private land. The petrified wood in the park is protected.

Have a drink of water, take another look around at where you’ve been, then into the van and off to our next stop. Sorry, no cake available but you can rejoice in the calories you burned off and didn’t replace. 🙂

for Jo’s Monday Walk 10.17.22

  1. restlessjo says:

    No cake on my walk today either, Janet, but apple pie and tiramisu consumed at the weekend. What a fascinating place, isn’t it? How weird and wonderful is Ma Nature! Many thanks for joining me. Have a good week!

  2. Tish Farrell says:

    More natural world wonders, Janet. Isn’t geology amazing.

  3. Sue says:

    How absolutely fascinating!

  4. bushboy says:

    A fabulous landscape. Great photos janet 🙂

  5. peggy says:

    Makes me miss Arizona. Lived in Arizona several times as I grew up. Not to mention the 18 years on the Navajo Indian reservation from age 22 to age 40. The variety of different scenery in Arizona makes it a wonderful place to explore. Great post and thanks for the memories your post brought to my mind.

  6. Great vistas! It’s such a fascinating place. I remember being in awe just thinking about what it was like when those trees were alive and thriving…then they became this. Mind boggling!

  7. Whoa that’s fascinating. I haven’t been there yet, so really enjoyed your trip!

  8. Jessica says:

    Great history on how they’re made. Beautiful photos!

  9. Wow! Awesome scenery!

  10. Emille says:

    Great to see this petrified forest again. Back then I didn’t have a good camera, and it’s lovely to see your captures. So colorful!

  11. belocchio says:

    In a very strange way the petrified forest is quite magnificent. A most unusual and memorable experience.

  12. DeWetsWild says:

    What an amazing site and sight! I am glad that at least some of it is protected from people trying to sell something they had no hand in creating. Places like this deserve to remain untouched for all of us to be amazed at.

    • The information from the Park Service says that early photos of the park show that virtually nothing has been removed. I would think that’s true for the large pieces (because they weigh a LOT.) But I bet there were lots of small pieces that left the park. Everything in the park is protected, at least in theory. But you can buy petrified wood that isn’t from the park if you want some.

  13. Rupali says:

    I don’t know if anyone else has the same problem. I don’t see the images when I open your post in reader, Janet.

    Such fascinating images and unique landscape structure.

  14. Oh wow! it is a beautiful landscape!

  15. Resa says:

    More great shots, and education. Thank you, Janet!

  16. Wind Kisses says:

    This was a fantastic “walk”. it is so hard to capture the vast area, the color and the striping. I loved the way you pointed out the log on the hill in the distance and went with it. It was a great idea to bring people to this fascinating place.

  17. Vibeassist says:

    Talk about natural beauty 🪵✨😍😍

  18. Teresa says:

    Wonderful ❤️