Friday, March 15, 2013

Painted Desert and Petrified Forest

Painted Desert
Painted Desert.

Petrified Forest.

These names sound like places of enchantment in fairy tales.

Located in Northern Arizona, and part of the Colorado Plateau, the Painted Desert runs the length of the Petrified Forest. There is a 28 mile scenic road with nine overlooks and it's also close to Wupatki. We might be able to take it all in the day we're near Flagstaff.

According to Park Vision, the fragments of petrified wood are remnants of giant trees from ancient forests of the Triassic Period. Over 200 million years old, these logs turned from wood to rock after the trees were buried under layers of sand and silt.

With a landscape like this it is easy to imagine dinosaurs roaming forested hills.

The nearest town, Holbrook, Arizona, boasts a population of ~5K, but the park area sees roughly 600K visitors each year  because this is the best area in the States to find petrified wood.

Petrified Forest
 Military measures are taken to prevent the theft of rock samples, but even so, stocks have dwindled over the years. It must have been incredible a couple of hundred years ago before the area was settled and tourists began their raids. The problem continues...
Many visitors cannot resist taking rocks, despite strict regulations and stiff fines against removing any material. To see if the petrified wood was actually disappearing at an alarming rate, resource managers established survey plots with a specific number of pieces of wood; some were nearly barren in less than a week. National Geographic

I'll take a few digital photos, they'll be lighter to carry.

more great shots at Flickriver.com

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