National Park Petrified Forest
National Park Petrified Forest is located along interstate 40 between the towns of Holbrook and Navajo. It is the world’s largest Deposit of colored petrified wood. In addition, the largest cut colored petrified wood fragments derived from the trunks found in this place. Most found here are samples of petrified wood belongs to the family Araucariaceae and in particular referring to Araucarioxylon arizonicum. Plants of this family have completely disappeared in the Northern hemisphere, but remains in the isolated populations in the southern hemisphere.
The Park consists of 2 areas. Northern territory, covering part of the sediments of the Chinle formation upper Triassic (220 million years) is called the Painted Desert. In the southern part there are several locations of petrified wood.
The Petrified Forest area was declared a national monument December 8, 1906, and in 1962 was opened the national Park. Currently the national Park is 885 km 2. Along with numerous localities of petrified wood, the Park’s attractions include Agate Agate house and bridge, built of petrified wood.
At the end of the Triassic period (210 to 230 million years), this region was located in tropical latitudes. Based on the study of rocks and fossil soils in the Park,it can be assumed that the climate of the region characterized by seasonal changing periods of rains and drought (somewhat reminiscent of a modern monsoon climate in the Indian Ocean). During a period of heavy rains, trees were washed away by water streams, transported by rivers and accumulate on the river’s sandy shallows. Clusters of trunks of trees very quickly was covered with river sand and volcanic ash. The last source was an active volcanic ridge located to the West of the area. In the end, a quick dumping of the trunks of the trees prevented the beginning of the processes of decay, and volcanic ash was the source of the silica. Under the influence of silica-saturated aqueous solutions of wood were gradually replaced by silica (chalcedony) with iron hydroxides and manganese, the presence of which is caused by a variety of colors of the petrified trees.
Stratigraphically, the majority of localities petrified wood is associated with sedimentary rocks of the formation the upper Triassic Chinle. Along with the petrified wood in the rocks of the formation Chinle found abundant fossilized flora and fauna: fossil leaves of various plants, fossilized bones of giant crocodiles Phytosaurus, a giant amphibian Metoposaurus, the fossilized remains of the earliest in North America dinosaurs, numerous invertebrates (freshwater clams and snails).
Around the national Park are private lands on which also there are often accumulations of petrified wood. The owners of this land to lead the development of petrified wood, extracting from the Sandstone fragments of the shafts. After impregnation special fixing compositions, the trunks cut into the saw cuts, thickness 2 – 5 cm, which further polished. Further cuts are in the production of table tops, decorative inserts, mosaics etc. the Most beautiful and large cuts of petrified wood are of collection value.