Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Petrified forest

That's a forest out there.

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...

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