A petrified forest of trees turned in to rocks; I think that's fascinating.
What was once a very different climate has left behind some incredible evidence of its existence.
Some trees are as big as 9 feet in diameter
To turn them from wood to rock, some of the trees were buried by volcanic sediment before they could decompose.
Ground water dissolved silica from the volcanic ash
and carried it through the logs. This solution filled the wood cells and crystallized them to quartz. What's left shows every detail of the former logs--the rough bark surfaces, the growth rings, sometimes even cell structure.
The quartz, in the shape of the logs often has a beautiful rainbow of colors.
It's so beautiful that, depending on the report, 1 ton to 12 tons per year are stolen. People just want to take a piece home with them.
The petrified forest is something people have always found fascinating. Here are a few photos of around 100 years ago...
People used to live in the Painted Desert. They've left behind some marks of their presence. Petroglyphs.
These are some of the best preserved petroglyphs in the U.S. They're around 1000 years old, so most of their meanings are lost.
Maybe they were solar calendar markings.
Maybe they were messages to other migrating tribes.
Maybe they commemorated important events.
I saw the Painted Desert National Park once a long while ago, before I had done much traveling and seen much of the world's wonders. I was blown away then by the color and vastness of the desert at that time.
I wondered if it would still be so amazing the second time around.