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Title: Petrified Forest National Monument (1953)
Author: United States. National Park Service
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Petrified Forest National Monument (1953)" ***

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    [Illustration: Cover: _Petrified Logs in the Rainbow Forest._]



                            Petrified Forest
                      NATIONAL MONUMENT · ARIZONA


    [Illustration: NATIONAL PARK SERVICE · DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR]

                     PETRIFIED WOOD MAY NOT BE REMOVED FROM THE MONUMENT



_The National Park System, of which Petrified Forest National Monument
is a unit, is dedicated to the conservation of America’s scenic,
scientific, and historic heritage for the benefit and enjoyment of the
people._

Petrified Forest National Monument, containing 85,304 acres of federally
owned land, has the greatest and most colorful concentration of
petrified wood known in the world. In the monument are six separate
“forests” where giant logs of agatized wood lie prostrate, surrounded by
numerous broken sections and smaller chips and fragments.

The area is a part of the Painted Desert of northern Arizona, a region
of banded rocks of many hues carved by wind and rain into a fantastic
landscape. Here and there beds of shale contain perfectly preserved
fossil leaves of plants of a remote age. Occasionally the bones of giant
reptiles and amphibians are washed from their burial places in the
deposits.


            _PREHISTORIC INDIANS LIVED IN PETRIFIED FOREST_

The ruins of pueblos built by Indians in pre-Columbian times, from 800
to 1,400 years ago, are scattered on nearly every mesa throughout the
monument. Low mounds, strewn with blocks of sandstone and bits of broken
pottery, mark the sites of these ancient homes. Some of the dwellings,
such as the Agate House in the Third Forest, were built of blocks of
petrified wood, and smaller fragments of this material were chipped into
arrowheads, knives, and scrapers. Many petroglyphs (pictures carved into
the surface of the rock) are found on the sandstone rocks throughout the
area.


                               _HISTORY_

Apparently the first man to report the “stone trees” was Lieutenant
Sitgreaves, an Army officer who explored parts of northern Arizona in
1851, soon after Arizona was acquired by the United States.

The petrified forests remained largely unknown, however, until the
settlement of northern Arizona began in 1878 and the Atlantic and
Pacific, now the Santa Fe Railway, was completed across northern Arizona
in 1883. During the following years, the existence of the petrified
forests was threatened by souvenir hunters, gem collectors, commercial
jewelers, and abrasive manufacturers. Entire logs were blasted to obtain
the quartz and amethyst crystals often found within the logs, and much
agate was carried away for making jewelry. The erection of a stamp mill
near the forests to crush the petrified logs into abrasives offered the
most serious threat. Alarmed, the citizens of Arizona, through their
territorial legislature, petitioned Congress to make the area a national
reserve “so that future generations might enjoy its beauties, and study
one of the most curious results of nature’s forces.”

Following an investigation by Lester F. Ward, of the United States
Geological Survey, Petrified Forest National Monument was established by
President Theodore Roosevelt on December 8, 1906, under authority of the
Act for the Preservation of American Antiquities.


                          _THE GEOLOGIC STORY_

_The Forests._—About 160 million years ago, in Triassic time, northern
Arizona was probably a lowland where shifting streams spread sand and
mud over the plains. Scientists believe that the growing forests were
upstream, possibly as much as a hundred miles west and southwest of the
present petrified forests. The principal tree resembled modern pines,
but was more closely related to the Araucarian pines of South America
and Australia. Remains of two other kinds of primitive trees are also
occasionally found.

_The Trees Were Buried._—Natural processes, sometimes hastened by
destructive fires and ravages of insects, are believed to have killed
the trees. Certainly, many of them decayed on the ground, but others
fell into streams and came to rest in bays or on sand bars where rapid
burial by mud and sand prevented their decay. The deposits in which
these trees were buried eventually turned to the hard sandstones and
shales now called the Chinle formation. These were buried at least 3,000
feet beneath layers of sand and silt spread by shallow seas.

_The Logs Petrified._—The sediments in which the logs were buried
contained a large amount of volcanic ash, high in the mineral silica.
This silica was picked up by ground water, carried into the wood, and
deposited in the cell tissue. The mineral filled the wood solidly,
forming the present petrified log. However, the greater part of the
original cellulose remains. The various color patterns were caused by
oxides of iron and manganese. This particular type is known as agatized
wood. Cavities in the logs were often filled or lined with quartz
crystals.

_How the Forest Was Brought to Light._—Since the forest was buried there
have been several periods of great mountain making. Forces from deep in
the earth thrust the Rockies and Sierras upward several thousand feet,
and the land between was lifted far above its former position near sea
level. As a result of this great mountain growth, certain areas became
arid and desertlike; soon wind and rain started wearing down the great
deposits that covered this region. Large river systems carried away the
loose mud, sand, and gravel which finally found its way to the sea. Thus
the sediments that once covered the forest were removed. Finally the
layers in which the logs were buried were cut by canyons and ravines,
revealing the great petrified logs and the many bands of colored rock
that make up the Painted Desert. It is believed that the petrified logs
were cracked in many places by the weight of sediments and earthquakes
during the mountain uplift period. As the logs wash from the hillsides,
they break into sections which accumulate in piles at the base of the
cliffs. Only a small portion of the petrified forests is now exposed,
for logs occur below the surface of the ground to a depth of about 300
feet.

_Broken Log Sections._—Rhythmic vibrations of earthquakes during the
period of uplift of the land are believed to have produced fine cracks
at more or less regular intervals across the petrified logs. As erosion
of the softer material around the logs took place at the surface of the
land, the exposed cracks widened, separating the logs into sections.

_The Painted Desert._—The badlands of the Petrified Forest areas and the
Painted Desert get their color from the ancient volcanic deposits of
that region, and the surface forms are typical of desert erosion.

The material from which the badlands were sculptured originally was
deposited layer upon layer as volcanic ash. The decomposition of the ash
which released silica for petrification converted the ash into claylike
rock, called bentonite. When pure, the bentonite is nearly white, but in
the Painted Desert it is stained all shades of red, orange, maroon,
blue, purple, and yellow by iron minerals that also came from volcanic
ash.

    [Illustration: _Interesting Formations in the Third Forest._]

Bentonitic beds in arid or semiarid regions erode into badlands. The
bentonite absorbs water like a sponge, swells, and disintegrates into a
fine mud. As a result, the torrential summer rains that fall in northern
Arizona rapidly cut the banded, bentonitic beds into sharp, conical
hills, turreted ridges, and sharp, interbranching canyons and ravines.
When dry, the bentonite is hard and strong, thus preserving these
intricate badlands forms during the long periods between rains. Locally,
a hard sandstone caprock may prevent rapid erosion of the shales beneath
to form an abrupt-sided, table-topped butte or mesa. The resistant
capping of the rim of the Painted Desert is composed of ancient volcanic
rock.


                         _INTERPRETIVE SERVICE_

All visitors are invited to see the Rainbow Forest Museum. Its exhibits
include many outstanding examples of polished petrified wood, fossils,
and minerals; charts explaining the formation of the petrified forests
and the badlands; and a diorama. Other exhibits may be seen at the
Painted Desert Museum, which is open during the summer.

During the summer months short talks are given periodically in the
Rainbow Forest Museum; and, as circumstances permit, guided tours
through the Rainbow Forest are conducted by park ranger naturalists.

All of these services are free of charge.


                          _TRAVEL INFORMATION_

Excellent paved approach roads make Petrified Forest National Monument
easily accessible by car, and it can be visited throughout the year. US
66, crossing the area near the Painted Desert, is the approach from the
east. Travelers from the southeast, south, and west enter from US 260.
The monument road connects these two main highways and leads through the
more interesting parts of the area. This road through the monument is
closed to through travel at night.

Travelers by rail must obtain privately operated cars in Gallup, N.
Mex., and Holbrook and Winslow, Ariz., for tours through the monument as
no scheduled tours are available.


                     _ACCOMMODATIONS AND SUPPLIES_

At the Rainbow Forest, a small picnic ground, equipped with table,
shade, and water supply, is available for free use in daytime only.
There are no camping facilities.

The nearest towns having cabin, hotel, store, and garage facilities are
Holbrook, Ariz., 20 miles west; Gallup, N. Mex., 92 miles east; and St.
Johns, Ariz., 42 miles southeast. Distances are from monument
headquarters.

Meals, gasoline, and souvenirs may be obtained at the Painted Desert Inn
and at the Rainbow Forest Lodge.


                            _ADMINISTRATION_

A superintendent is in immediate charge of the monument. Communications
should be addressed to him at Petrified Forest National Monument,
Holbrook, Ariz.


                          _GUIDE FOR VISITORS_

                          From US 66—Read down
                          From US 260—Read up

_Painted Desert Rim Drive._—Take road from US 66 to rim. Distance back
to US 66, via rim, about 4 miles. Beautiful view of Painted Desert.
Museum of Indian Arts and Crafts in basement of Painted Desert Inn.

_Painted Desert._—Erosion cutting across the many colored beds of shale
and sandstone produced the “Painted Desert.”

_Puerco River Ranger Station._—To enter monument, secure automobile
permit, 50 cents. Visit Puerco Indian Ruin back of ranger station. Ruin
indicates 150 to 160 rooms. Built 800 to 900 years ago. To leave
monument, get clearance.

_Newspaper Rock._—Side road ¼ mile. Fine trail—12 to 15 minutes.
Remarkable prehistoric Indian “writings” (petroglyphs) probably 800 to
900 years old. Made by chipping through outer dark sandstone surface
with sharp tool, probably of petrified wood. The many interesting
figures, symbolic designs, and characters have never been interpreted.
Please do not deface them.

_Lower Blue Forest Drive._—Fine side road—½ mile to parking area.
Typical badlands exposures.

_Blue Forest Connecting Trail._—Gravel trail—1 mile long—50 to 60
minutes. Leads to Upper Blue Forest Parking Area, where driver can meet
anyone walking across trail. Logs on 3 levels. The only forest with pink
logs. Remarkable “chip” piles.

_Upper Blue Forest Drive._—Good graveled road—3 miles to parking area.
Fine panoramic view of Blue Forest badlands and Puerco River Valley.
Conglomerate capped mesa. Head of Blue Forest Connecting Trail.

    [Illustration: _Agate Bridge._]

_Agate Bridge Trail._—5 to 10 minutes. Petrified log, 111 feet long,
forms natural bridge; span about 40 feet. Erosion of sandstone by rain
water produced this bridge. Pedestal Log a short distance south.

_First Forest._—Fine side road—8 to 10 minutes. Highly colored, broken
logs very abundant, eroding from conglomerate bed that caps mesa.

_Second Forest._—Good trail—20 to 25 minutes. Peculiar white, silicified
logs; logs are fire scarred; carbonized material present. Hollow logs
show crystals in place.

_Third Forest and Agate House._—Paved trail—25 to 40 minutes. Finest
long log area—some 150 to 160 feet. Panorama Knoll gives good view.
Agate House side trail to pre-historic Indian dwelling partially
restored; built of petrified wood 800 to 900 years ago.

_Rainbow Forest._—Start from museum on all-paved trail—15 to 20 minutes.
Logs show beautiful bands of color. Old Faithful, one of the largest
logs, at top of trail. Mather Memorial on side trail.

_Rainbow Forest Museum._—Charts and exhibits tell the complete story of
the Petrified Forest. They include beautiful polished sections of
agatized wood, fossil reptiles, and amphibian skulls, bones, and teeth.

_US 260 Ranger Station._—To enter monument, secure automobile permit, 50
cents. Drive carefully. To leave monument, get clearance and information
on roads.



_Please help to maintain and protect Petrified Forest National Monument
by refraining from destroying or removing specimens of petrified wood
(no matter how small the piece) or defacing or marking ruins,
pictographs, petroglyphs, or other works of prehistoric man. If each of
the hundreds of thousands of yearly visitors took pieces of petrified
wood, there would soon be none left. Once removed, it is gone forever—it
cannot be replaced._

Your cooperation in observing the above will make it unnecessary to
impose penalties of fines or imprisonment, or both, as provided for
under the laws of the United States Government for the protection of
Petrified Forest National Monument.

You may purchase petrified wood from the monument concessioner, who gets
his supply from dealers handling wood obtained from private lands
outside of the monument.

The following items, which through their observance will tend to make
your trip and that of your neighbors more enjoyable, are listed for your
guidance:

  The monument is a sanctuary for all living things. Please do not
  molest the wild birds or animals or pick wild flowers.

  Pets may be brought into the monument only on leash, crated, or
  otherwise under physical restrictive control.

  Picnicking is permitted at the headquarters picnic area only.

  Unless adequately sealed, cased, broken down, or otherwise packed to
  prevent their use while in the monument, firearms are prohibited
  except upon written permission from the superintendent.

  Professional photographers using motion picture cameras must obtain a
  permit from the superintendent.

  All accidents should be reported to the nearest ranger station.

  The speed limit is 35 miles per hour. Please drive with caution and
  heed all traffic signs.

  Lost and found articles should be reported to the nearest ranger
  station.

  An annual fee of 50 cents is charged each automobile and motorcycle
  entering the monument.

  The monument road between the Rainbow Forest and the Painted Desert is
  closed to through travel at night.

   THE PARK RANGERS ARE HERE TO ASSIST YOU AS WELL AS TO PROTECT THE
          MONUMENT AREA. WHEN IN DOUBT ASK A RANGER—THANK YOU.

    [Illustration: DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR · March 3, 1849]

                UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
                       Douglas McKay, _Secretary_

           NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, Conrad L. Wirth, _Director_

    [Illustration: PETRIFIED FOREST NATIONAL MONUMENT
    ARIZONA]

  PAINTED DESERT
    Pilot Rock
    HIGHEST POINT IN MONUMENT (EL. 6235)
    CHINDE MESA
    Black Forest
    RIM OF PAINTED DESERT
    PAINTED DESERT INN
    MUSEUM
  PUERCO RIVER
    LITHODENDRON WASH
    DEAD RIVER
  Cottonwood Wash
  ATCHISON TOPEKA & SANTA FE RY.
    ADAMANA
    TO GALLUP NEW MEXICO
  U. S. 66
    TO GALLUP 72 MILES
    TO HOLBROOK 25 MILES
  U.S. 260
    TO HOLBROOK 20 MILES
    TO ST. JOHNS 42 MILES
  PUERCO RIVER CHECKING STATION
    HIGHWAY CLOSED AT NIGHT
  PARKING AREA
    PETROGLYPHS
    INDIAN RUINS
    NEWSPAPER ROCK
  Twin Buttes
  The Haystacks
  Blue Forest
    3 MILES
    PARKING AREA
  First Forest
    PARKING AREA
    AGATE BRIDGE
  SECOND FOREST
    PARKING AREA
  Rainbow Forest
    PETROGLYPHS
  The Flattops
  Third Forest
    RAINBOW FOREST ADMINISTRATION OFFICE HEADQUARTERS
    CHECKING STATION (El. 5472)
      HIGHWAY CLOSED AT NIGHT
    MUSEUM
    STORE
    PARKING AREA
    RAINBOW FOREST LODGE
    Picnic Area
  VICINITY MAP
    PETRIFIED FOREST NAT. MON.
    NAVAJO INDIAN RESERVATION
    U. S. 66
      Gallup
      Holbrook
    U. S. 260
      Concho
      St. Johns
  NM PF 7001  Revised Aug. 1952


REVISED 1953
                         U. S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: 1953 O-F—2307



                          Transcriber’s Notes


—This eBook is based on a U.S. government publication which is public
  domain in the United States.

—Corrected a few palpable typos.

—Within the map, transcribed labels, and added italicized text where
  needed to define the context.

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





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