Posts Tagged ‘state fossil’

“It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air, that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

Agate Bridge: Floodwaters washed away softer sandstone to allow this harder 110-foot long petrified log to form a bridge. Humans, fascinated with the bridge, added supports, something National Park staff would not do today, preferring to leave things in a more natural state. This log bridge, however, was one of the things that prompted the creations of Petrified Forest Nation Park in 1906. — Photo by Pat Bean

Trees Turned to Stone

Stone logs testify to the ancient forest that once thrived here. — Photo by Pat Bean

Araucarioxylon arizonicum. I can’t pronounce it either. But I did learn that it was one of the most common trees found in a 225 million year old forest that once thrived in what is now Arizona.

These trees are extinct, but more than their memory lives on. The great conifers among them that were quickly buried by mud, silt and volcanic ash in ancient days, then at some point were exposed to silica-laden water, live on, their organic tissues transformed into quartz.

That, at least, ‘s the abbreviated version of the science behind the stone trees. If you want more details, you’ll have to do your own research. It could be fun.

I tried to picture the forest as it once was, with dinosaurs roaming through it, as I stood in front of “Old Faithful.”

Old Faithful: The largest 225 million year old tree trunk in the park. — Photo by Pat Bean

That’s the name of the largest Araucarioxylon arizonicum tree trunk on exhibit along a short hike behind the Rainbow Forest Museum near the south entrance to the park.

Petrified tree remains were once so plentiful, and not just in the Petrified Forest National Park where it’s illegal to remove then, that you can find homes and cafes and other structures in which they were used as building material.

Araucarioxylon arizonicum is also the Arizona’s state fossil.

Hmmm. I wonder if I can learn to speak the name of the tree as easily as I learned to say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

Bean’s Pat: Love Thy Bike http://tinyurlcom/7n85fbh Take an armchair bike ride along the California Coast. 

*This recognition is merely this wandering/wondering old broad’s way of bringing attention to a blog I enjoyed – and thought perhaps my readers might, too. The Pat on the back is presented with no strings attached. May 30, patbean.wordpress.com


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