Petrified Forest National Park, the northern part of which extends into the Painted Desert, is a geologic wonderland! This region of Arizona has stunning vistas, erosional landforms, barren badlands, and extensive displays of petrified logs as well as fossils, petroglyphs and remnants of prehistoric pueblos.
On clear days in the Southwest, especially on crisp, cold winter days, you can see landscape features almost 100 miles away! Nearby you can visit Meteor Crater, the best-preserved meteorite crater on the planet. Kids and adults of all ages who are interested in earth science will love this place!
In 1905-1906, while living in Adamana, Arizona, naturalist John Muir explored the Petrified Forest region and discovered the “Blue Mesa Forest” of petrified wood. He wrote a letter to the noted conservation president, Theodore Roosevelt, asking him to protect it. Roosevelt’s administration was the first to stress the importance of conserving our country’s natural resources.
Between 1901 and 1919, President Roosevelt worked to preserve more than 170 million acres as national parks and monuments. By the end of his term he had reserved six predominantly cultural areas and twelve predominantly natural areas in this manner. The Petrified Forest was declared a National Monument on December 8, 1906 and it was designated as a national park on December 9, 1962.
Petrified Forest National Park is the only national park site that contains a segment of the historic Route 66 alignment. Part of the National Old Trails Highway also passed through the park. The Petrified Forest National Park Junior Ranger Activity Booklet is online! See also the Petrified Forest National Park’s Kids Page.
Awesome Science: Explore Meteor Crater and Petrified Forest – Join 14-year-old host Noah Justice as he explores the fascinating Petrified Forest and Meteor Crater. In this third episode of the Awesome Science DVD series, Noah unveils amazing evidence that confirms the biblical record of Genesis. In this 30-minute segment, viewers learn how millions of acres of petrified forests were created during the Flood, and that a large meteor was not what killed off the dinosaurs.
This petrified log was already partially decayed at time of burial:
The brilliant colors in the petrified logs come mainly from three minerals: pure quartz is white; manganese oxides are blue, purple, black or brown; and iron oxides provide hues from yellow through red to brown.