Posts Tagged ‘petrified wood’

Jasper Forest, originally called First Forest as it was the first part of the park accessed from Adamana, a town the railroad tracks passed through, has a high concentration of wood. To prevent full-scale looting, the road that once ran here was closed, but you can now take a nice long walk among hundreds of piece of petrified wood, some full-length although in sections. Remember that I told you they fall apart in piece due to their weight? And as I’m sure you now know, the Jasper Forest isn’t made of jasper but of…what else? Petrified wood, which is actually a fossil.

The variety of minerals make beautiful colors. There are so many beauties here that I found I finally had to stop taking photos. Each one looked as good or better than the last, finally causing a feeling of burnout. I did continue to marvel at them, though.

Everywhere you look you see more petrified wood and who knows how much lie still covered?

Friday will be our last day in Petrified Forest. Not much walking but some lovely pieces of petrified wood. Still having fun?

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