Thursday, August 27, 2015

Petrified Forest National Park

We went to the Petrified Forest National Park on one of our Preparation Days.  The Petrified Wood come in small shards to massive trunks, are strewn across the landscape.  In some areas of the park, fossilized trunks are visible.  In other areas they remain hidden, still buried under layers of soil and rock.  As the trees died or were knocked down by wind or water, many were carried down stream and buried by layers of sediment.  The logs soaked up groundwater an silica from volcanic ash and over time crystalized into quartz.  Different  minerals created the rainbow of colors seen in many pieces.

The Petrified Forest also has the Painted Desert, petroglyphs, fossils, ancient pueblos, and ancient pottery and arrow-heads.  In 1895 the Arizona Territorial legislature petitioned Congress to protect this valuable scientific and cultural treasure.  In 1906, President Theodor Roosevelt signed legislation creating Petrified Forest National Monument.  The monument became a national park in 1962.

The petroglyphs capture thousands of years of the human story.  Although we do not know the meaning of all the petroglyphs, several are solar calendars.  Some mark the summer or winter solstice, while others indicate both equinoxes.

 Petrified Log bridge.  To try to preserve the log bridge a cement bridge was placed under the log in the early 1900s.