Petrified Wood

Anne-Marie Bokslag

Haarlem, Netherlands

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  • Artwork Comments 16

Wall Art

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Artist's Description

Who knows what this is?…. Solved, Kathy S. Gillentine knows what it is!

Picture made in the Petrified Forest of Calistoga CA

Great redwood trees turned to stone attract thousands of visitors every year to this private park in the hills of eastern Sonoma County. Rich in history from the late 1800s, the Petrified Forest is a perfect example of explosive volcanic activity.

Redwood trees up to 8 feet in diameter and hundreds of feet high were blown down like match sticks in the flow of a wave of ash from a major volcano to the north and east. They were subsequently deeply buried by ash and preserved by replacement of organic material by fine-grained silicon and oxygen (chalcedony). Modern uplift and erosion has exposed the tips of the trees and final excavation by man results in the display we see today.

The first petrified tree exposed is called the Pit Tree because it is exposed in a 15 foot deep pit. It is the only pine preserved in the park, with finer ridges in the bark, unlike the more typical redwood. It is 43 feet in length and 2 feet in diameter, hardly a giant, but evidence that this was a cool, moist environment when the trees were preserved. White-gray ash in the walls of the pit is more tuff.

The trees must have been buried rapidly by a great deal of ash in order for them to be preserved. The tops of the trees here point to the southwest, indicating that they fell in that direction. They also slope up toward the tips, so it is unlikely that they fell down a slope. The uniform direction of tops and the preservation of the trees indicates they were blown down by a volcanic blast like Mt. St. Helens and rapidly buried deeply by an ash fall. Further past the Pit Tree and down slope is the gulley tree, a series of broken fragments of an originally larger tree, this one a redwood. The trail climbs up to the right and enters into a meadow area surrounded by Manzanitas.

Canon 350D
Canon Zoom lens EF-S 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 II USM,
Exposure time 1/60s
Aperture value f/5
ISO 200
Focal lenght 43mm

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