If a tree falls in a forest 200 million years ago, can you hear it?
Well, no, you probably will not hear it.
But if the tree is carried away by flood waters, and quickly submerged in silt…
… it may not decay, but instead be fossilized.
Colorful rock preserving the shape and texture of the tree.
And then add millennia of tectonic shifts and climate change and erosion, and voila, you can now see that tree 200 million years after it fell, in the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona.
No longer just any old tree. Now it’s a rock star.
A friend told me not to bother visiting the Petrified Forest. It was just a bunch of rocks strewn across the desert, not an actual forest of upright trees turned to stone.
I’ll admit I had in childhood imagined a dense forest of upright stone trees too, and not replaced that image with updated information before that conversation with my friend.
But I myself was not underwhelmed by the reality of Petrified Forest National Park. The 200 million year old fossilized trees, some sliced strewn stumps, some fully preserved in shape and length, richly multicolored gems in the Arizona desert displayed as for a museum’s sculpture garden, impressed me mightily.
I hope these photos capture some of that weird, wonderful beauty.
These next pictures feature not petrified forestry but my intrepid husband, Ed, stalked by my camera, enthralled by the Arizona sky.