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gem icon Old Faithful [Suggest Edits]

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Description

Most visitors to Petrified Forest National Park arrive with the expectation to see petrified trees and other fossils. While the park certainly doesn't disappoint, making a stop at Old Faithful showcases petrified wood as you've never seen it before!

Old Faithful is definitely the highlight of the Long Logs Trail. Nearly ten feet wide at the base and over 35 feet long, this large log is one of the largest and most colorful petrified logs in the park. This massive log is estimated to weigh close to 44 tons, and it is one of the most intact relics along the trail. In June of 1962, the log was struck by lightning, causing the park staff to add a concrete base for support. While this support is evident of the log's more recent history, it is even more impressive to inspect the log up close to appreciate the amazing intricacy of the petrified wood.

All petrified wood forms in a similar process. Once living trees die, they often collapse or are knocked over. If the tree is quickly buried with sediment or ash, it can become petrified. Sediment often has a low oxygen content, and trees that are quickly buried are encased in oxygen-poor environments, which prevents them from rotting. As sediment continues to build on top of the buried trees, the petrification process can begin. Over time, heat and pressure can build, and fluids beneath the earth's surface can interact with the buried tree, and dissolves the material that gave the tree its structure. Dissolved minerals in this water then replaces the original material, preserving the structure of the tree in resistant rock.

Short Walk: Located along the Long Logs Trail a short distance from the Rainbow Forest Museum.

Gem Type: Rock Formation

Shared by:
Mikhaila Redovian

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Shared by Mikhaila Redovian on Jun 30, 2016. All Page Views: 278. Last Month: 10.