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Petrified wood is the name given to a special type of fossilized remains of terrestrial vegetation. It is the result of a tree or tree-like plants having completely transitioned to stone by the process of permineralization.
Elements such as manganese, iron, and copper in the water/mud during the petrification process give petrified wood a variety of color ranges.
Pure quartz crystals are colorless, but when contaminants are added to the process the crystals take on a yellow, red, or another tint.
Following is a list of contaminating elements and related color hues:
carbon – black
chromium – green/blue
cobalt – green/blue
copper – green/blue
iron oxides – red, brown, and yellow
manganese – pink/orange
manganese oxides – blackish/yellow
silicon dioxide – clear/white/grey
Petrified wood can preserve the original structure of the stem in all its detail, down to the microscopic level.
Structures such as tree rings and the various tissues are often observed features.
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Petrified Logs at the Valley of Fire
Petrified Logs at the Valley of Fire Overview
There are two areas to view Petrified Logs at the Valley of Fire State Park, with one on each end of the park.
It doesn’t take long to do either and if you are into geology, it’s a cool side trip.
Petrified Logs at the Valley of Fire Photos
Petrified forests are rather common in the West, and are often made up of a wide variety of trees. The trees of this “forest,” however, are ancient pines that grew near here during the Great Age of Reptiles, approximately 150 million years ago.
Millions of years ago, this tree likely grew with others of its kind in a forest several miles from here. Later, floodwaters carried the fallen log to this area where it was buried beneath mounds of feet of silt, sand, and sea deposits. Here it slowly changed to stone.
When the log was buried, groundwater carrying minerals _ solution worked its way into the microscopic air spaces in the wood tissues. Here the minerals were deposited completely filing available space. The colors in the log are usually caused by oxides of iron or manganese.
Sssssshhhh… do not disturb the petrified wood! Okay, just kidding. Don’t try to touch it through the fence or jump over the fence to get a closer look.
At the trailhead, you will find a trash can and signs letting visitors know that dogs must be on a leash and that the Petrified Logs area is day use only with no overnight camping at the site.
Trail conditions for this short hike to view the petrified logs.