Petrified Forest National Park is located in the US state of Arizona and is visited by almost 670,000 people annually. It was founded on January 1st, 1962 and has a total area of 379 km². See directoryaah for museums in Arizona.
Almost the entire park area is covered in desert grass and treeless wasteland. The other part is called the painted desert, which means “painted desert” in German. The name refers to the weathered red-brown, purple, gray and white layers of rock. The desert surface consists for the most part of clayey and soft stone and hard volcanic ash.
The Petrified Forest National Park got its name from the “petrified forest”. This park is so named because there are hundreds of petrified tree trunks here. These stone trees are also particularly attractive in terms of color. They have the colors red, yellow, brown and black.
History of the Petrified Forest National Park
The Anasazi lived in what is now the Petrified Forest National Park until the end of the 13th century. The homes of the former residents can still be found today. Around 300 building ruins have been preserved, some of them in a very good condition. The Anazi built all kinds of buildings. That’s why you can see everything in the Petrified Forest National Park, from a one-room dwelling to a pueblo with 150 rooms.
As was common in this region at the time, the Anasazi were hunters and gatherers. In addition, over time they acquired a good knowledge of agriculture. At the end of the 13th century, however, the people had to resettle. They found a new place to stay on the Puerco River. A long period of drought forced them to do so. Eventually the water on the Puerco River became less and less and so the Anasazi disappeared completely from the area of today’s Petrified Forest National Park.
When the first reports about the petrified tree trunks came to the public in the 19th century, they naturally aroused great interest. The construction of a railway line began and was completed in 1883. From now on the fossils should also be of economic use. A settlement called Adamana arose very close to the area. There was a stone mill here. The rock of the fossil wood was ground into the finest powder and sold as a simple abrasive. Today’s scientists and archaeologists are of course extremely saddened by this chapter in the park’s history.
Anything that was not ground up by the stone mill or taken away by private collectors, museum owners and tourists was blown up or smashed with hammer and chisel.
This sounds like pointless destruction, which in retrospect it actually was. But people at the time suspected that amethyst crystals were deeper in the rock. In fact, there were a few isolated cases, but not to the extent that one would have hoped. Numerous petrified trees fell victim to the destruction.
In 1890 more and more voices from the population were loud to finally put the park under protection in order to put an end to the activity. In 1906 the area received the status of a national monument, it was not until 1962 that it became a national park
Today it is strictly forbidden to remove fossils within the park area. Even so, tourists are estimated to take several tons of the rock home with them every year. The petrified wood can, however, also be bought in the vicinity of the park.
Animals and plants in the Petrified Forest National Park
In addition to the petrified tree trunks has the park about an animal attraction: the herding pronghorn and Pronghorns. They occur exclusively in North America, are very active animals and are among the fastest runners in the world. You can reach speeds of up to 110 km / h!
The animals have adapted perfectly to the environment. The barren, arid landscape with its cacti and other steppe plants is enough for the goats to live.
Pronghorns can see perfectly and perceive movements several kilometers away. The Pronghorns are also very fast runners and cannot be beaten that quickly. They don’t go as fast as the pronghorns, but they have a powerful weapon of defense: their hooves. They use these successfully against attackers such as coyotes. Bison are also at home here in the park, and the poisonous rattlesnake can also be found.
At first glance, the flora looks rather sparse. There are often withered-looking scrub and grass bushes here. There are also some yuccas and junipers here. A few small ball cacti are distributed in the area of the national park.