Wednesday, April 18, 2012

P is for a Pleiades for the Petrified Forest

F.Y.I. I am taking part in the A to Z Challenge.  Stop by tomorrow and check out my Quatrain on the letter Q.


Paralleling along Route 66 
Pueblos abandoned long ago
Petrification as far as the eye can see
Painted dessert frozen in time
Petroglyphs reveal this no man's land
Paleontologists unearth stoney resources
Pilfers destroying our national treasure 

Petrified wood (from the Greek root petro meaning "rock" or "stone"; literally "wood turned into stone") All the organic materials have been replaced with minerals (mostly a silicate, such as quartz), while retaining the original structure of the stem tissue.  The petrifaction process occurs underground, when wood becomes buried under sediment and is initially preserved due to a lack of oxygen which inhibits aerobic decomposition. Mineral-laden water flowing through the sediment deposits minerals in the plant's cells; as the plant's lignin and cellulose decay, a stone mold forms in its place.

When you first walk into the Petrified forest, which is really a dessert of fallen trees, it seems as if you are strolling through any other tree graveyard; until you touch a log that's solid stone. Even the wood chips are solid stone. Since you can drive through the entire park in 45 minutes this trip is definitely one that could be done in less than a day. In 2-3 hours you can visit the major view points and trails within the park. The Painted Desert Visitor Center offers a pdf Park Newspaper Trip Planner so can plan ahead and get the most of your visit. If you would like a souvenir, pick one up at the visitor center or local shops because it is illegal to take wood from the park. The fine is around $300.00 and they do check your vehicle for rocks when you leave.

Gazing out over the Petrified Forest you see why a Spanish explorer named the hills "El Desierto Pintado" (The Painted Desert). They truly look as if they were painted from the colors of the sunset. A visit to the Petrified Forest is a step back into the Late Triassic period. Viewing artifacts that are centuries old or fossils that are millions of years old reminds us that we are only travelers in this journey through life.

Muse For Today: What petrifies you?


Gossip_Grl said...

My mom has a friend who took a trip out west and brought back some of the petrified wood. The pieces are beautful.

Gail M Baugniet - Author said...

Roller Coasters and tour helicoptors are two things I plan to never ride! Great post.

Scribbles From Jenn said...

The pieces are beautiful. Hard to imagine it used to be wood.

Scribbles From Jenn said...

I used to LOVE roller coasters, but they don't love me anymore. I've heard too many negative things about helicopter tours, so they are on my 'never to ride' list too.

Lynda R Young said...

I recently visited a petrified forest... it's a freaky place and I found it hard to fathom that much history.

Scribbles From Jenn said...

It is hard to wrap your head around all that history. I'm just glad they aren't talking to me while I'm there.

Teresa Cypher aka T K CypherBuss said...

You pics are amazing. My father in law has a couple of pieces of petrified wood from back in the 1940s. So amazing. This is on my bucket list. So, it was wonderful seeing your pics and reading your blog. :-)

freshfrommydesk said...

Great post - love the P poem on top. It's been many years since I've been to the Painted Desert but it was amazing. Hmmm...what petrifies me? Not getting everything out of my head and onto paper! LOL!

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