Thursday, January 28, 2016

Petrified Forest National Park - Painted Desert

On my last road trip I visited the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona and really enjoyed it.  Here are some pictures of the painted desert.

These mudstone and sandstone rock layers are called Chinle Formation and were deposited by a vast river in a forest ecosystem 205 to 227 million years ago.  All of the colors are caused by the iron in the sediments.  During deposition, drier climates allow the minerals to be exposed to oxygen, rusting the iron and creating red, brown and orange colors.  Wetter climates can "drown" the sediments, allowing little or no contact with oxygen, causing the layers to be blue, gray and purple.

Uplift and erosion of the Colorado Plateau erased overlying strata, exposing the rocks of the Chinle Formation.

Petrified Tree at base of boulders

Petrified Tree at base of boulders

Panorama view from Kachina Point

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