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Title: Agatized Rainbows - A Story of the Petrified Forest
Author: Brodrick, Harold J.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                           AGATIZED RAINBOWS
                   _A Story of the Petrified Forest_
 _With views of other National Park Service units of Northern Arizona_


    [Illustration: Third Forest. _Photo by Jerry McLain._]

    [Illustration: Colorful petrified log sections, typical of many
    found in the monument. _Photo by Esther Henderson._]

    [Illustration: Blue Forest Badlands—Colorful banded ridges, a three
    mile side trip. _Photo by Ray Manly._]

    [Illustration: MAP SHOWING: NATIONAL PARKS, NATIONAL MONUMENTS,
    POINTS OF INTEREST]

    [Illustration: Agate Bridge. Erosion has cut out the rock from under
    this log leaving a span of 45 feet forming a bridge, now supported
    by a beam. _Photo by Leon Cantrell._]

    [Illustration: An example of color and erosion in the First Forest.
    _Photo by Josef Muench._]

    [Illustration: Logs of rainbow hues in the Second Forest. _Photo by
    Josef Muench._]

    [Illustration: Old Faithful Log near the Museum in Rainbow Forest
    has the largest base diameter of those readily seen during a trip
    through the Monument.]

    [Illustration: Logs in the Second Forest. _Photos by Josef Muench._]

    [Illustration: A polished specimen of wood from Rainbow Forest
    Museum, where many other colorful sections are on display. _Photo by
    Josef Muench._]

    [Illustration: Mariposa Lilies, one of the beautiful wildflowers
    that bloom during May, in the Forest. _Photo by Josef Muench._]



                           AGATIZED RAINBOWS
                 .... _A Story of the Petrified Forest_


                                               POPULAR SERIES No. 3—1951
     PRESENTED BY PETRIFIED FOREST MUSEUM ASSOCIATION, HOLBROOK, ARIZONA
                                AND THE ARIZONA STATE HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT
                           _TEXT BY HAROLD J. BRODRICK, PARK NATURALIST_

“Oh ranger, please! Just one itzy bitzy piece of petrified wood to take
home to show my boy friend. You won’t miss just one teeny weeny piece.”

Holding in his hand an assortment of specimens of petrified wood which
he had just retrieved from the young lady driving the flashy
convertible, the Highway 260 checking station ranger at Petrified Forest
National Monument shook his head with a wry smile. “Sorry, lady, but the
rules say ‘It is unlawful to injure, destroy, or remove specimens of
petrified wood of any size whatsoever found within the monument boundary
* * *,’ and my job is to see that this and other regulations are obeyed.
You’re right, we would never miss these few pieces if you took them home
with you, but they belong to the people of the United States, and if
everyone of the 350,000 visitors who come here each year took away only
a few specimens, as you wish to do, in a very few years there wouldn’t
be any left. It’s my job, as representative of the people of this
country, to see that there will always be this great natural display of
petrified wood here where it was formed.”

As the young lady drove off with a gay wave of her hand and “I think
you’re mean” tossed over her shoulder, the ranger turned to us with a
rueful smile. “Happens every day,” he said. “You can’t blame people for
wanting to take home a souvenir of the Petrified Forest, and the stuff
is so pretty that kids, especially, just can’t help but want to pack it
off. And, with so much of it here, it’s hard for them to understand that
it would soon be gone, particularly along the roads and trails, if
everyone carried off a handful or two.”

We agreed with the ranger that it is hard to understand, until it is
explained that such enormous quantities of petrified wood as are strewn
over hundreds of acres in Petrified Forest National Monument could be
entirely removed in a few years by souvenir-hungry American tourists.
“But where,” we inquired, “do these roadside stands all along Highway 66
get the huge piles of petrified wood which they offer for sale? Surely
the National Park Service doesn’t permit them to haul it off the
monument by the truckload.”

“Oh no,” grinned the ranger. “All of that ‘for-sale’ wood comes from
private lands. The national monument preserves and protects only the
largest and most colorful deposits of petrified wood; but it is found in
many places throughout northeastern Arizona.”

The impatient toot of an automobile horn informed us that we were
blocking traffic, so we thanked the ranger and continued on our way.
However, the interesting conversation aroused our curiosity, and at the
first opportunity we returned to the Petrified Forest to learn more
about the occurrence of petrified wood, and how Uncle Sam, through the
National Park Service, keeps the wood from being carried off by souvenir
collectors, and how the fascinating story of wood petrification is told
to visitors who take a little time to visit the monument museum at the
Rainbow Forest headquarters of the superintendent. This is the way the
naturalists tell it.

Believe it or not, it was the threat of souvenir hunters and raids on
the fields of petrified wood by commercial jewelers, gem collectors, and
abrasive manufacturers in the late 1890’s and early 1900’s that led
thoughtful citizens of the then Arizona Territory to petition Congress
for the establishment of some sort of a protectorate for the Petrified
Forest. In the vicinity of the Agate Bridge and what is now known as the
First Forest, enterprising abrasive makers set up a stamp mill to
pulverize the great blocks of petrified wood which they found there.
Here, also, many of the logs were dynamited in the search for quartz and
amethyst crystals which some of them contained.

As a result of the petition by citizens of Arizona Territory, and in
response to requests by other groups in the Southwest that steps be
taken to protect great cliff dwellings and other prehistoric Indian
remains which were being systematically pothunted and looted, Congress
passed the Antiquities Act. This authority enabled President Theodore
Roosevelt on December 8, 1906, to issue a proclamation establishing
Petrified Forest National Monument for the protection and preservation
of one of the world’s most colorful and extensive concentrations of
petrified wood “for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.”

Northeastern Arizona is not the only area known to contain petrified
wood, for it has been found in nearly every State and in foreign
countries as well. Visitors from distant States are frequently surprised
to discover, from a map in the monument’s museum, that petrified wood is
to be found near their own homes. It is, however, the large amount of
the wood in such beautiful and varied colors that makes _this_ Petrified
Forest outstanding and worthy of being protected as an area of national
significance.

We do not know for certain which of the early travelers was the first to
see the great display of petrified wood of northern Arizona. Spanish
explorers may have seen it during the 1500’s, since they viewed and
named the Painted Desert (Desierto Pintado), but no written account has
been located that gives any indication that they noticed the wood. In
fact, the earliest written report on record was not made until 1851. In
that year, Lieutenant Sitgreaves, an Army officer, explored parts of
northern Arizona and mentioned the petrified wood in his reports. In
1853, an Army expedition led by Lieutenant Whipple visited the present
monument area, camping near the Black Forest.

It was not until the 1880’s that settlement of this part of the Arizona
territory really got under way with completion of the Santa Fe Railroad
across it in 1883. Word about the petrified wood spread, and it was not
long until the destructive activities were started.

The six separate “forests” within the monument are areas of the greatest
concentration of petrified logs and have been named the First, Second,
Third, Black, Rainbow, and Blue Forests. The latter was given its name
because of the bluish color of much of the badlands formation in which
the wood is found. There is not a great deal of difference in the wood
found in the other locations, so they were apparently named by early
residents in order to distinguish one location from the other.

Fortunately, this monument is easily accessible since it is crossed by
two main highways, thus giving visitors to northern Arizona an excellent
opportunity to enjoy the beauties of this unusual work of nature. The
National Park Service of the United States Department of the Interior
has been entrusted with the responsibility of protecting and
administering this and all of the other national monuments and parks
forming America’s National Park System. It is the responsibility of all
the people, as owners of these outstanding national values, to help the
Service keep the wonders of this and other parks and monuments intact
for the enjoyment of future generations.

Because of the name “Petrified Forest,” many people who have read of it
expect to find trees “turned to stone” and standing upright just as they
grew. Actually, geologists who have studied the area very carefully do
not believe that many of the living trees grew in this particular
location, for all of the evidence indicates that fallen timber from
forests a considerable distance away was carried here by flood waters of
ancient streams and stranded and buried in the mud and shallows of
lagoons and marshes.

During the latter part of what geologists call the Triassic period,
about 160 to 170 million years ago, most of northeastern Arizona was
apparently an extensive flood plain; low, flat, and swampy. Numerous
streams, some of them quite large, flowed out from the surrounding low
hills into the plain. These streams brought enormous quantities of
sediments; mud, sand, and other minerals, spreading it out layer upon
layer as they shifted their flow back and forth just as on present river
deltas. These sediments contained huge amounts of volcanic ash which the
streams apparently picked up near their sources. This ash was largely
silica, the mineral which was later to be of major importance in the
petrification of the wood. (Silica (SiO₂) is the oxide of silicon, a
non-metallic element making up 28 per cent of the earth’s crust. The
crystal form of silica is quartz, the commonest of all minerals, which
is found in large amounts in many volcanic rocks.)

The flood plain was broken by an occasional ridge or high spot,
apparently tree-covered, as a few petrified stumps with partial root
systems have been found in the locations where they apparently grew.
However, most of the trees grew in forests on the low hills through
which these rivers flowed, anywhere from a few miles to 50 or 100 miles
or more to the west and southwest of the present national monument.
These trees died from various causes, just as trees of our modern times
do. Fire, wind, insects, diseases, and other causes all took their toll.
Many trees probably decayed in the forest where they fell, but others
were picked up by flood waters and were eventually transported by the
streams to the flood plain there to become stranded with hundreds of
others and to be covered by the sediments brought in by the streams.

This transportation theory is based on several types of evidence. In the
first place, the logs have been stripped of much of their original roots
and limbs, and practically all of the bark has disappeared. The logs
present a worn appearance, an indication of having received rough
treatment. Also, very few traces of cones or foliage have been located,
although the fossil remains of more than 30 species of fragile ferns,
cycads, rushes, and other plants that grew in the marshes of the ancient
flood plain have been found. The direction of the original drainage into
this area has been established by tracing the source of the Permian
gravels which are deposited here.

The deposition of these sediments over the plain continued until a layer
about 400 feet thick was built up during the centuries. This deposit is
now known geologically as the “Chinle Formation.” One of the principal
materials found in the Chinle is Bentonite, originally a volcanic ash
which the streams brought. It has since decomposed into a clay-like soil
which is very porous and spongy and which readily absorbs water and
expands. When becoming very wet, it turns into a bluish mud and is
washed away. Erosion of this Bentonite and other materials deposited
with it forms the badlands area now seen on portions of the monument and
in the Painted Desert. During the ages when the original layers of mud,
sand, and silt were being deposited, many of the logs were washed in and
buried at various levels with this Chinle material.

While all of this was slowly taking place, the land mass over this part
of the continent was gradually subsiding. It continued to settle during
the next geological period of millions of years, and layer after layer
of sediments were washed in and deposited on top of it. Then during the
next geological (Cretaceous) period, a long arm of a sea flooded this
part of the country. Marine deposits accumulated on the bottom of the
sea until finally the Chinle Formation containing the buried logs was
covered by 3,000 feet or more of other deposits.

At the close of Cretaceous time, about 60 million years ago, uplift of
the present Rocky Mountain system commenced. The basin in which the
Petrified Forest lay buried rose with it. This gradual rising movement
has continued intermittently nearly to the present time.

This uplift brought with it the activity of erosion which has continued
through the ages until finally almost all of the 3,000 feet of upper
layers of material have been washed away, and the many logs, that had
once been so deeply buried, have again been exposed on the surface; but
now as hard, colorful stone. Erosion continued to carry the soil away
from the petrified logs, exposing more and more of them. As forces of
erosion lowered the surface of the ground little by little, the
petrified logs, too hard to be affected, settled with it, eventually
accumulating with sections of other logs that had been buried on a lower
level. Thus, the present surface of the ground is rather thickly
covered, in many spots, with wood that was originally scattered through
approximately the upper 100 feet of this Chinle Formation. In the
vicinity of the Rainbow and Third Forest, at least, about 300 feet more
of this formation still remains. So far as we know, wood is to be found
throughout this entire layer. Therefore, theoretically at least, it may
be said that 25 per cent of the petrified wood that is here is visible
on the surface, the rest still remaining buried below.

Three species of trees have been found here in petrified form. The most
common one is an Araucarian Pine (_Araucarioxylon Arizonicum_), a
primitive member of the pine family. This species became extinct long
ago, but there are still several species of modern Araucaria native to
South America, Australia, New Zealand, and other South Pacific islands
which are apparently very similar to this ancient form. Some of the
modern types have been imported to this country and are used for
ornamental purposes in certain locations in Florida and along the
Pacific coast. The most common ones are known as the “Monkey Puzzle
Tree” and “Norfolk Island Pine.” Claims made by roadside stand operators
along Highway 66 that the petrified wood offered for sale is “beach
walnut,” “cactus,” etc., have no basis in fact.

Two other types of petrified wood are found here in smaller amounts.
These are the _Woodworthia Arizonica_, a cone-bearing tree somewhat
similar to the Araucaria and the _Schilderia Adamanica_, a tree with
peculiar radiating rays in the wood. Paleontologists are not sure where
this latter kind belongs in systematic plant classification. What
happened during the millenniums that the logs lay buried in their Chinle
tombs?

How did these trees turn to stone? Most of our text books tell us that
the petrification of wood is a replacement process. Bit by bit, water
removed wood tissue and in its place left a mineral deposit in exactly
the same form as the original, so that when the process had been
completed there was no wood left but in its place an exact stone
duplicate. This theory was accepted for a very long time, but recently
some scientists were not satisfied with it because certain chemical
actions that would have to occur during such a process were difficult to
explain.

Just prior to 1940, several scientists investigated the process, and
from their findings decided that the wood was not petrified by
_replacement_ but by the _infiltration_ of mineral-bearing water into
the wood and the deposition of this mineral in the air spaces within the
wood tissue. This process, they believe, continued until all of the
microscopic spaces in the wood were filled solid with this deposit and
the petrified log, composed of 98 per cent by volume of mineral deposit
and 2 per cent cellulose and lignin wood tissue, was the result. The
original wood tissue acted, they think, as a framework to hold the
mineral deposit like the walls of a building would act if the rooms and
spaces between the walls were filled in solid with liquid concrete. This
accounts for retention of the cell structure, annual rings, and other
features of the original wood. The petrification of wood has never been
studied sufficiently, and there are many questions for which
satisfactory answers have not yet been advanced.

Although woods in different localities have been petrified by other
minerals, the most common is silica. In the case of this petrified wood,
the silica was deposited in an agatized non-crystalline form. The normal
color of the silica without mineral stain is a white or gray. Sometimes
small amounts of other minerals were in the solution along with silica,
or in some cases were brought in during the millions of years of burial
as a secondary deposit in the cracks, checks, or other openings in the
petrified or partially petrified wood. Iron oxides in small quantities
produced the great variety of shades of red, brown, and yellow. The
black color in most cases is due to manganese oxide or carbon. Thus, the
combination of minerals produced a rainbow of colors in the agatized
wood.

Whenever there were small checked places, cracks, or hollows in the
wood, we find that they are often either filled or lined with quartz
crystals or occasionally with amethyst crystals.

The term “chalcedony” (pronounced kal-sed´-nee) is a broad one usually
applied to any compact mass of silica free of definite color pattern,
but it is also frequently used to describe all forms of silica whether
translucent or opaque, and regardless of color. Agate, therefore, may be
considered a variegated chalcedony. Agate is translucent and has a
definite color or pattern. Jasper is opaque and may be either red,
brown, yellow, blue, or green in color. Quartz minerals are harder than
most types of steel, and there are only about 30 other minerals that
exceed it in hardness. In the mineral scale of hardness, quartz is rated
at 7 and diamond, the hardest of all, at 10. Petrified wood weighs about
166 pounds per cubic foot.

“Who sawed these trees” is one of the questions visitors frequently ask.
It is a natural query because most of the logs are cracked into
sections, in many instances of rather uniform length, and each broken
face is smooth enough to appear almost like a saw cut. At first glance
this does give the impression that someone, possibly a Paul Bunyan with
an enormous diamond-toothed saw, had cut the logs into “stove wood”
lengths. Although there may be some differences of opinion about how
this fracturing occurred, the present explanation by scientists is that
most of this breakage took place during the period of uplift of this
section of the country. The gradual movement and elevation of the
earth’s crust caused numerous earthquakes. The shock waves of the
tremblor traveling through the earth set up vibrations which caused the
deeply buried, brittle, petrified logs to crack. The harmonic vibrations
created by the rhythm of the regular shock waves caused the cracks to be
rather regularly spaced. At first these cracks were tiny, but centuries
later, after the logs were exposed on the surface, the weathering
actions and the shifting and settling of the soil beneath them caused
the cracks to widen and eventually the fractured sections separated.
Occasionally breakage may also occur when soil washes out from under one
end of a log and its weight causes it to sag and crack. The normal
fracture line of this material is at right angles to the lineal axis,
and the rather smooth face causes the broken surface to appear much like
a saw cut.

Polished wood sections that are exhibited in the Rainbow Forest Museum
show to best advantage the varied color pattern of this petrified wood.
The piece is first cut with either a diamond or carborundum saw. Then
the sawed face is ground as smooth as possible on carborundum wheels of
different grits. When ground sufficiently smooth, the final polish is
given the surface with hard felt buffing wheels and a polishing
compound. Due to the hardness of the petrified wood, it takes about an
hour to cut and polish a square inch, hence is an expensive process.
Some of the most colorful or “picture wood” specimens make very
attractive and durable settings for rings, pins, and other jewelry.

Fossil remains of many forms of animal life that existed here during
Triassic times also are found in the Chinle deposits with the petrified
wood. Some parts of skeletons were mineralized and preserved in much the
same manner as was the wood. The animals which lived where the trees
accumulated were forms that normally inhabited muddy, marshy river
bottoms, another indication of the type of environment here during that
long-gone age.

Largest of these animals was the Phytosaur, a crocodile-like reptile
about 18 feet long and weighing nearly a ton. Nostrils were located on
top of the head. These reptiles were omnivorous feeders, and with their
webbed feet and long flattened tails were at home either on land or in
the water. The Phytosaur was a distant relative of the Dinosaur but
became extinct before the Dinosaur reached its peak of development.

Another inhabitant of the swampy lowlands where ancient logs were
stranded was the Stegocephalian, a primitive amphibian related to modern
salamanders, or mud puppies, but of huge size. They were heavy,
flattened creatures from six to nine feet long and probably weighed
about 500 to 600 pounds. Their legs were very short, and they moved
about by dragging themselves over the swampy ground, probably being
carnivorous feeders. The skull was almost completely solid and had
openings only for the nostrils, eyes, and a peculiar third eye in the
top which probably was capable of distinguishing movement or light, but
not color.

Several types of fishes, amphibians, and small reptiles probably lived
along the streams and in the quiet pools of those ancient marshes. Among
them were lung-fishes whose teeth or “dental plates” are now found
scattered through the badlands of the Petrified Forest.

Large rushes, or horsetails, bordered the streams and matted the swamps.
Their hollow stems grew to eight and ten inches in diameter and 30 to 40
feet tall. At each joint were whorls of slender branches. Large,
broad-leaved ferns formed a striking contrast with the delicate foliage
of the seed fern types. Club mosses probably grew in small clusters in
sheltered places along the banks of the streams and pools.

How different this scene of millions of years ago was from our
present-day landscape and modern plant and animal life. The climate must
have been at least sub-tropical then; today it is semi-arid.

In contrast to the plants and animals of those Triassic times living in
swamps and marshes, we now have plants and animals that are able to
exist with a minimum of moisture. The present ground-cover is seldom
over three or four feet high, but includes a wide variety of plants
ranging from very small flowering herbs to the several species of
gray-foliaged salt brush and other shrubs. With suitable moisture, the
spring and fall wildflower displays are often very showy. The early
blooms of the chimaya, phacelia, and the large, white, evening primroses
are soon followed by desert mallow; vetch; a small white daisy-like
Fleabane; the large yellow tulip-like flowers of the mariposa or sego
lily; and as the season advances, the paint brush; asters; snake weed;
golden aster; rabbit brush; and many others.

In contrast to the sluggish reptiles and amphibians in the Triassic, we
now have the fleet pronghorn (American Antelope); occasional coyotes and
bobcats, porcupine, prairie dogs, rabbits, and many of the smaller
rodents. Several species of harmless snakes and an occasional
rattlesnake; slender, striped, long-tailed race runner lizards; scaled
lizards, and the bright, green-backed, yellow-footed Bailey Collared
Lizard which frequently brings visitors hurrying in to inquire if it is
poisonous. It isn’t!

Several species of birds such as the Desert Horned Larks and rock wrens
make this their permanent home while many other species ranging in size
from the tiny Allan Hummingbird to the mighty golden eagle either stay
here during various parts of the year, or pass through in the spring and
fall migrations.

Intermixed with the surface deposits of petrified wood and other
remnants of the ancient Triassic time are the much more recent remains
of early men. Ruins of their homes, fragments of their handiwork, and
examples of their arts are to be found in many locations.

These people were pre-Columbian Pueblo Indians, ancestors of our modern
Pueblo Indians, and of the same type that inhabited the other pueblo and
cliff-dwelling sites in the Southwest. It is probable that there was
considerable trading carried on between the people of this area and
those at other locations, since many of the same pottery types are found
throughout.

This somewhat desolate region was apparently fairly densely populated by
little groups of farming Indians. With no survey or study of the
monument area having been made, more than 300 ruin sites have been
located and there are many others nearby. These ruins of stone buildings
are usually from one to a few rooms in size. However, one ruin near the
Puerco River Ranger Station is estimated to have had about 125 or more
rooms. It is built in the form of a hollow square about 180 feet by 230
feet, around a plaza about 130 by 185 feet. Probably two stories in
height, it could have housed nearly a hundred families.

A study of the pottery fragments from each site helps us to tell the
approximate time that the particular site was occupied. This time varies
from about 500 or 600 A.D. to 1400 A.D., some being used over a longer
period than others.

In most cases, the buildings were constructed of pieces of sandstone,
but in a few instances the Indians had an eye for color and used pieces
of petrified wood which made a very substantial as well as colorful
building. “Agate House” in the south part of the Third Forest is one
example of such construction. This was partially reconstructed in 1934
in the early Pueblo style by the use of chunks of petrified wood from
the heap of the ruins. Indians also used the petrified wood for making
arrow-points and other tools and weapons.

These people practiced agriculture, cultivating corn, pumpkins, and
beans. They probably wore simple clothing made of cotton cloth or the
skins of wild animals. They also made pottery.

Tree-ring studies show that there was a great drought from 1275 to 1299
A.D. This apparently caused a great deal of shifting around among the
Pueblo people. Only a few villages in the Petrified Forest area were
occupied during the fourteenth century. It is not known whether the
people were driven out by the predatory Apaches or because of the
drought.

Where did these Indians get water? While there probably has not been any
marked change in climate or rainfall since that time, there may have
been more springs and seeps along the cliffs. It is possible that these
failed during that great drought period.

Pottery designs of these early Indians show an artistic talent, further
indicated by the many petroglyphs on the sandstone cliffs and boulders
throughout the area. A petroglyph is a picture or design carved or
pecked in the face of a rock. These pictures are of figures, geometric
patterns, and symbols in many cases similar to those found on the
pottery. Some represent hands, feet, human figures and shapes of
mammals, birds, or lizards. These appear to be simply a collection of
drawings made by various Indians over a period of time. In some cases,
they were clan symbols, each passerby adding his own much like a
visitor’s register such as we have today or a collection of initials or
names unthinking people carve on trees or scratch on rocks.
Unfortunately an occasional person nowadays, thoughtless of those that
follow, either destroys this ancient art work or defaces it by adding
his name or initials to those of an earlier man. “Newspaper Rock” is the
most spectacular group of petroglyphs found on the monument.

Homes and tribal lands of modern Indians are located in areas to the
south, east, and north of Petrified Forest National Monument—homes that
were established in some cases before the first Spanish explorer entered
the Southwest.

To the south in the White Mountains are the Apaches. Apparently both the
Apache and the Navajo entered the Southwest only a short time before the
Spaniards came. Being nomads and predatory in nature, they soon struck
terror in the hearts of the peaceful Pueblo people and caused many of
them to abandon their homes to seek more secluded and protected sites.

To the east are the Zuni, a Pueblo people that some of the early
occupants of the Petrified Forest may have joined. When the Spaniards
came, these Zuni were living in seven pueblos that became known as the
historic “Seven Cities of Cibola.”

To the north are the Navajo and Hopi peoples. Arizona’s famous Painted
Desert forms a long curving border to the Navajo Reservation—a border
extending from near the New Mexico line westward to the Colorado River
northwest of Cameron. A spectacular portion of it lies in the northern
part of Petrified Forest National Monument.

The Painted Desert is a colorful, often fantastically eroded badlands of
Bentonitic beds stained with shades of red, orange, yellow, blue,
purple, and brown by iron minerals. Arid or semi-arid with only a sparse
vegetative cover, these soft beds are subject to rapid erosion during
Arizona’s season of torrential rains.

The Painted Desert formed a barrier behind which the early Hopi people
withdrew to establish their famed mesa-top villages, including Oraibi
which has been continuously occupied since about 350 years before the
discovery of America. These people still live in their several mesa-top
villages, their reservation surrounded by that of the Navajo, their
former enemies, who now lead a peaceful, semi-nomadic life.

There is much more to the fascinating story of the Petrified Forest as
told to us by naturalists of the national monument. Few visitors take
time from their mad rush to “get somewhere quickly” to make the effort
to understand the intricate and devious ways of Nature, of which “Time
is the essence,” resulting in the spectacular and brilliant display,
this glittering jewel of the desert, the Petrified Forest. Stopping only
long enough to marvel briefly, many of them feel the urge to take
something with them, some concrete reminder of the colorful scene, some
bits of petrified wood. Those who successfully “get past” the checking
station ranger with their illicit souvenirs usually lose these trinkets,
or find them turned to sharp goads which prod their consciences in later
years. How fortunate those visitors who, at the expense of an hour or so
of time, gain an understanding of what lies behind the scenery at the
Petrified Forest, thereby developing an appreciation of the work of
Nature and of God as exemplified here. These people take with them, not
merely a souvenir, but an experience which they will treasure and enjoy
throughout the remainder of their lives.

    [Illustration: The Painted Desert from the Monument’s rim drive.
    _Photo by Josef Muench._]

    [Illustration: A typical scene in Petrified Forest. _National Park
    Service Photo._]

    [Illustration: Painted Desert from the Painted Desert Inn. _Photo by
    Josef Muench._]

    [Illustration: Navajo National Monument. Deep in the heart of the
    Navajo country is an area of cliffs, canyons, and prehistoric ruins.
    One of the largest is Betatakin. _Photo by Martin Litton._]

    [Illustration: Sunset Crater. Sunset Crater National Monument, near
    Flagstaff, comprises an area that was the scene of volcanic
    activities hundreds of years ago. _Photo by Norman Wallace._]

    [Illustration: Tuzigoot—The hilltop home of an ancient, peaceful
    farming people, near Clarkdale, has been excavated. _National Park
    Service Photo._]

    [Illustration: Canyon De Chelly National Monument contains within
    its borders Canyon De Chelly and Canyon del Muerto, as well as many
    ruins. It is near Chinle. _Photo by J. H. McGibbeny._]

    [Illustration: Hoover (Boulder) Dam and Lake Mead provide a fine
    recreational area along the Arizona-Nevada border. _Photo by Herb
    McLoughlin._]

    [Illustration: Grand Canyon National Park. The Grand Canyon of the
    mighty Colorado River defies efforts to describe it adequately.
    _Photo by A. C. Jackson._]

    [Illustration: Wupatki ruins in Wupatki National Monument, one of
    the most spectacular pueblos in Northern Arizona. _Photo by George
    K. Geyer._]

    [Illustration: Walnut Canyon. In the walls of this canyon, near
    Flagstaff, under overhanging ledges are a series of prehistoric
    Indian ruins. _National Park Service Photo._]

    [Illustration: Montezuma Castle, overlooking Beaver Creek in the
    Verde Valley, is one of the most beautiful cliff dwellings to be
    found in this country. _Photo by Ray Manly._]



Transcriber’s Notes


—Retained publication information from the printed edition: this eBook
  is public-domain in the country of publication.

—Silently corrected a few palpable typos.

—In the text versions only, text in italics is delimited by
  _underscores_.





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