Blue Forest of Eden Valley, Wyoming, USA
image: http://cdn1-www.webecoist.momtastic.com/assets/uploads/2010/09/petrified_forest_5a.jpg(images via: Susan Kay Jewelry and eBay)
The petrified Blue Forest in Eden Valley, Wyoming, was formed from fallen trees that lived about 50 million years ago in a swampy area. When the trees died and fell into the swamp, they were rapidly covered with algae – this was a good thing. The algae formed casts that preserved the original bark surfaces of the trees and kept them from decaying. The wood shrunk and eventually it, the algae casts and the spaces between them were filled in by minerals, often in exquisite, crystalline form.
image: http://cdn3-www.webecoist.momtastic.com/assets/uploads/2010/09/petrified_forest_5b.jpg(image via: Sticks In Stones)
Blue agate is one of the beautiful minerals displayed by petrified trees from the Blue Forest, and it’s even more appealing when complemented by white quartz crystals and golden Calcite inclusions as seen in the specimen above.
Monumento Natural Bosque Petrificado, Argentina
image: http://cdn3-www.webecoist.momtastic.com/assets/uploads/2010/09/petrified_forest_6a.jpg(images via: Photographers Direct and Imagenes de Argentina)
About 140 million years ago, the Andes had yet to rise and what are today the arid steppes of Argentine Patagonia were moist and misty, shaded by old growth forests of gigantic Araucatis Mirabilis trees reaching up to 330 feet into the sky.
image: http://cdn2-www.webecoist.momtastic.com/assets/uploads/2010/09/petrified_forest_6b.jpg(image via: Bikes On Tour)
This idyllic scenario was not to last – the Andes were born in a burst of volcanic eruptions that drowned the majestic forests in successive waves of ash and lava. Erosion has worked to remove the layers of volcanic rock, revealing Monumento Natural Bosque Petrificado, one of the most spectacular petrified forests in South America.
image: http://cdn2-www.webecoist.momtastic.com/assets/uploads/2010/09/petrified_forest_6c.jpg(images via: Stones & Bones)
The fineness of the volcanic ash often served to cushion the more fragile parts of the trees against the heat and violence of the volcanic eruptions, resulting in the astonishingly detailed petrified pine cones shown above.
Yellow Cat Flat, Utah, USA
image: http://cdn2-www.webecoist.momtastic.com/assets/uploads/2010/09/petrified_forest_7a.jpg(images via: Tom Wolfe Minerals and Rockhounding Videos)
The western United States is best known archaeology-wise as a hotbed of dinosaur fossils but scattered among the bones are copious remains of the trees dinosaurs roamed among, nibbled upon and trampled underfoot. Some of the most noteworthy specimens of petrified wood come from Yellow Cat Flat, just north of Moab, Utah. Much of the petrified wood found here has eroded out from the Morrison Formation; rocks laid down around 150 million years ago in the Jurassic period.
image: http://cdn3-www.webecoist.momtastic.com/assets/uploads/2010/09/petrified_forest_7b.jpg(image via: Jay Bates)
Yellow Cat petrified wood is famous for its rich red color and orange to yellow highlights that result from the presence of iron and other metal compounds. Known as Carnelian, this deep reddish petrified wood has been worked into jewelry and arrowheads for many centuries. Visitors to the area should be advised that Yellow Cat Flat and the surrounding area is extremely desolate and dry (the ground water is contaminated with uranium and arsenic). There’s no food, bathrooms, accommodation or cell phone service… much like it was back in the Jurassic.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota
image: http://cdn3-www.webecoist.momtastic.com/assets/uploads/2010/09/petrified_forest_8a.jpg(images via: Terra Galleria, NDGS and Photographers Direct)
The badlands of western North Dakota have a lot of good to show you, if you’re interested in petrified wood. Dating from the Paleocene Era (about 55 million years ago, after the dinosaurs went extinct), petrified wood can be found in scattered chunks, eroded logs and truncated trunks that still stand upright.
image: http://cdn3-www.webecoist.momtastic.com/assets/uploads/2010/09/petrified_forest_8b.jpg(image via: NDGS)
One of the best places in North Dakota to find an ancient frozen forest is in the South Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, located off Interstate 94 near Medora, about 130 miles west of Bismarck, ND. The petrified trees belong to many species but the largest stumps (up to 12 feet or 3.65m in diameter) belong to the genus Metasequoia – the Dawn Redwood. Those who happen to be in Bismarck can check out a 120-foot (36.5 meter) long, 6-ft (1.82m) wide petrified Metasequoia log that’s been installed on the grounds of the state capital building.
Prehistoric Kauri Forest, New Zealand
image: http://cdn3-www.webecoist.momtastic.com/assets/uploads/2010/09/petrified_forest_9a.jpg(images via: Unearthed, Arroyo Hardwoods and The Woodturner’s Studio)
Not all petrified wood is stone, and the process of petrification is anything but instant. Take New Zealand’s Prehistoric Kauri Forest as an example. Kauri trees – many of them huge, exceptionally wide specimens – grew in a swampy part of New Zealand’s North Island tens of thousands of years ago, and most of those designated as “Ancient Kauri” have been buried for up to 45,000 years. They’re partially petrified, and considered to be “the oldest workable wood in the world.”
image: http://cdn1-www.webecoist.momtastic.com/assets/uploads/2010/09/petrified_forest_9b1.jpg(image via: TDPRI)
The largest Ancient Kauri log extracted from the ground measured 75 feet (23 meters) long, 37 feet (11.3 meters) wide and weighed in at a staggering 140 tons. Examination of the tree’s growth rings determined that it was 1,087 years old when it died. Part of the log was turned into a unique spiral staircase that can be seen at the showroom and retail outlet of Ancient Kauri Kingdom in Awanui, New Zealand.
Mummified Forest, Axel Heiberg Island, Canada
image: http://cdn3-www.webecoist.momtastic.com/assets/uploads/2010/09/petrified_forest_10.jpg(images via: White Rose Paleobiology Group and Science News for Kids)
How do you make a Mummified Forest? Take one lush, old growth forest of Dawn Redwood trees and situate it 700 miles from the North Pole. Oh, you’ll also have to go back in time about 45 million years, to an era when global warming wasn’t a threat, but the norm.
image: http://cdn1-www.webecoist.momtastic.com/assets/uploads/2010/09/petrified_forest_10x.jpg(image via: Geological Survey of Canada)
Today on Canada’s otherwise desolate Axel Heiberg Island, a mummified forest grips the permafrost with gnarled roots. Not living but not petrified either, this exceptionally ancient wood can be sawed and burned if need be – and if you’re a paleobotanist thirsty for a cup of hot tea, one plays the hand they’re dealt.
Read more at http://webecoist.momtastic.com/2010/09/14/hard-woods-10-amazing-petrified-forests/#xgBzZRLbGxcYx142.99