It All Started Some 225 Million Years Ago...

Trip Start Jan 01, 2012
1
6
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Trip End Dec 31, 2012


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What I did
Petrified Forest National Park and Painted Desert

Flag of United States  , Arizona
Friday, April 6, 2012

   What a beautiful day it was to put the top down and drive the 28-mile loop through the Petrified Forest National Park and Painted Desert.  To borrow a phrase somebody else wrote in a review - there's nothing like spending time among 225 million year old trees turned to rock to make you feel young again!

   On our way there, we got to see the very famous Route 66 TeePee Motel (basis for the Construction Cone Motel in the movie "Cars"), and a few other of the old roadside attractions - big dinosaurs, petrified wood shops, etc. 

    As I mentioned, these huge trees lived some 225 million years ago on what was once a vast floodplain.  the trees fell, and swollen streams washed them into adjacent floodplains.  A mix of silt, mud, and volcanic ash buried the logs, and eventually cut off oxygen, slowing the logs' decay.  Silica-laden groundwater seeped through the logs, replacing the original wood tissues with silica deposits...this silica crystallized into quartz, and the logs were preserved as petrified wood.  The varied colors come from minerals in the silica-saturated waters.  Iron, carbon, manganese, and sometimes cobalt and chromium produced patterns and blends of yellow, red, black, blue, brown, white and pink. 

   Sites throughout the park tell of human history in the area for more than 10,000 years - it was amazing to see the petroglyphs telling stories of the ancients who lived there.  I continue to find it somewhat mind-boggling that our education pretty much gave us a picture of history on this continent starting in 1492, when there is so much rich and ancient history pre-dating that by thousands of years!

   Enough talk about it - will post some of the 300 pictures I took today!
 

 
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