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The Petrified Forest National Park was first established as a National Monument on December 8, 1906 when Teddy Roosevelt signed the proclamation. Congress passed a bill that elevated the Monument into a National Park in 1962.
Size and Visitation of Petrified Forest National Park
Gross Area Acres 93,532.57 as of September 23, 2000
About one half of the visitation occurs during June, July and August. The visitation for 1996 was 829,615. Visitation for 1999 was 666,978.
Imagine a large basin area with numerous rivers and streams flowing through lowland. A lush landscape with coniferous trees up to nine feet in diameter and towering almost two hundred feet tall surrounds you. Ferns, cycads and giant horsetails grow abundantly along the waterway, providing food and shelter for many insects, reptiles, amphibians, and other creatures.
During the Triassic Period (200 – 250 million years ago) the Colorado Plateau area of northeastern Arizona was located near the equator and on the southwestern edge of the landmass known as “Pangea”. (Eventually this super-continent separated to create our present continents.) This tropical location resulted in a climate and environment very different from today. Fossil evidence of this ancient land lies in the sediments called the Chinle Formation that is now exposed in Petrified Forest National Park.
Over time, trees died or perhaps were knocked over by floodwaters or wind. Rivers carried the trees into the lowlands, breaking off branches, bark, and small roots along the way. Some trees were deposited on the flood plain adjacent to the rivers and others were buried in the stream channels. Most of the trees decomposed and disappeared. But a few trees were petrified, becoming the beautiful fossilized logs we see today. Most of the fossilized logs are from a tree called Araucarioxylon arizonicum. Two others, Woodworthia and Schilderia, occur in small quantities in the northern part of the park. All 3 species are now extinct.
When You enter the Petrified Forest National Park you are asked if you having anything to declare; Petrified Wood Wise.
There is a huge Petrified Wood Store on the other end of the park where you can by just about any type of Petrified Wood!!! See Video 3 of 3.
Video of The Petrified Forest National Park September 20, 2016 (1 of 3)
Video of The Petrified Forest National Park September 20, 2016 (2 of 3)
Video of The Petrified Forest National Park September 20, 2016 (3 of 3)
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