Friday, May 31, 2019

Painted Desert, Arizona

My most recent post showed petrified wood at Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona.  The other big attraction at the park is often called the “painted desert”.

The painted desert stretches across much of northern Arizona, so this national park covers just a small portion, but it is easily accessible here.  The brown debris near the center of this photo is probably fragments of petrified logs.

The layers of color were created over millions of years of change in the earth’s surface.  Earthquakes, volcanic ash, and flooding deposited layer after layer of different minerals, and erosion exposed them for us to see.

These hills are known as “the tepees”.

I only had a few hours to explore the park, but I noticed that the best petrified logs are in the south, and the best views of the painted desert are in the north.

The variations of color are just amazing, and this photo gives some idea of the vast uninhabited space around the Park.

There are other attractions in the park including petroglyphs, pueblo ruins, and a Route 66 monument.  It is well worth the trip.

Thanks for looking, but remember that these are copyrighted photos that can not be used without permission, and in most cases a reasonable fee.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Petrified Forest

I drove to Tucson last month to visit my son Brian and his wife Laura.  On the way back I took an extra day to explore Petrified Forest National Park near Holbrook, Arizona.  There are two main attractions there, the painted desert and the petrified forest.  Here is the story of the Petrified Forest.

Some people think they are going to see a standing forest here, but the trees turned to stone after they fell and were washed downstream and buried during the late Triassic period around 200 million years ago.

As millions of years passed, the buried logs absorbed water and silica from volcanic ash which crystallized into quartz which often kept some of the logs’ details.

Spectacular colors were added by various minerals.  The colors in this photo have not been altered.

The crystallized logs were harder than the soil where they were buried.  Over time, erosion removed the surrounding dirt and the logs surfaced.  Sometimes the logs helped reduce the erosion under them, leaving them balanced on a narrow ridge.

Many of the huge logs look like they have been sectioned with a chainsaw.  This happened when they were still buried and earth movement caused forces that snapped the crystallized logs like breaking glass rods.

The petrified logs are mostly in the southern part of the park, but if you go be sure to see the painted desert in the north as well.

I hope you enjoy the photos, but remember they are copyrighted.  Please don’t use them without permission.