Petrified Forest National Park is in northeastern Arizona. The park islocated about 26 miles east of Holbrook along Interstate 40 (I-40) and historic U.S. Route 66, and covers about 146 square miles, encompassing semi-desert shrub steppe as well as highly eroded and colorful badlands. The site, the northern part of which extends into the Painted Desert, was declared a national monument in 1906 and a national park in 1962. The Petrified Forest is known for its fossils, especially its large deposits of fallen trees that lived in the Late Triassic, about 225 million years ago. The sediments containing the fossil logs are part of the widespread and colorful Chinle Formation, from which the Painted Desert gets its name. Beginning about 60 million years ago, the Colorado Plateau, of which the park is part, was pushed upward by tectonic forces and exposed to increased erosion. All of the park’s rock layers above the Chinle have been removed by wind and water.
Most of these pictures are from either the sourthern end of the park near the visitor center, or in the Blue Mesa Badlands. While visiting the park, we were chased around by an amazing series of thunderstorms. As we were leaving, we saw a thunderstorm backlit by the setting sun, and the rain that fell was red, reminding me of the song by Peter Gabriel “Red Rain’. I hope you enjoy the colorful combination of colorful stone logs and atmospherics, two examples of mother natures incredibile creativity!