Petrified Forest National Park | Nature Boom Time

Petrified Forest National Park | Nature Boom Time


[TICKING][CLOCK ALARM][FIREWORKS].♪ ♪ CHARLIE: TODAY WE’RE
IN EASTERN ARIZONA, IN PETRIFIED FOREST
NATIONAL PARK, WHICH IS A COOL PLACE BECAUSE
OF THIS STUFF, PETRIFIED WOOD. THIS IS PETRIFIED WOOD,
BASICALLY IT’S A FOSSIL OF A TREE THAT LIVED OVER
200 MILLION YEARS AGO. IF YOU LOOK CLOSELY YOU CAN
SEE FOSSILIZED GROWTH RINGS AND EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE
YOU CAN FIND SOME PRETTY EXCELLENTLY PRESERVED
BARK PATTERNS. IF YOU’D LIKE TO
FIND PETRIFIED WOOD, YOU HAVE TO COME
TO EASTERN ARIZONA, BECAUSE HERE IT’S
ALL OVER THE PLACE. IT’S EVERYWHERE. BASICALLY IT’S LITTERED WITH
THESE AWESOME TREE FOSSILS THAT ARE OVER 200
MILLION YEARS OLD, SO THEY’RE FROM A HECK
OF A LONG TIME AGO. BUT BASICALLY THIS PLACE
IS ONE BIG BARREN DESERT, SO WHY ARE THERE SO
MANY TREE FOSSILS HERE? GOOD QUESTION. LET’S BREAK IT DOWN WITH
SOME HELP FROM KIRB AND HER PAPER CUTOUTS. ALRIGHT SO 225 MILLION YEARS
AGO WHEN DINOSAURS WHERE HANGING OUT ON EARTH, ALL
OF EARTH’S LAND MASSES WERE IN ONE GIANT
CLUMP CALLED “PANGEA,” AND ARIZONA WAS
LOCATED AROUND HERE, ON ITS WESTERN EDGE
NEAR THE EQUATOR. NOWHERE NEAR
WHERE IT IS NOW. BACK THEN ARIZONA
DIDN’T LOOK LIKE THIS. IT WAS A TROPICAL PARADISE. HARD TO BELIEVE, BUT YEAH. THERE WERE RIVERS
AND STREAMS AND ALL SORTS OF ANIMALS AND
PLANTS EVERYWHERE. INCLUDING TREES THAT WERE
ALMOST 200 FEET TALL. THOSE 200 FOOT TALL
TREES LIVED NEAR RIVERS. WHEN THEY DIED,
MORE OFTEN THAN NOT, THEY WOULD FALL
INTO THE WATER. THIS WOULD HAPPEN
TO A LOT OF TREES, WHICH WOULD FORM LOG
JAMS, LIKE THIS ONE. RIGHT HERE, THIS IS WHERE
A HUG LOG JAM HAPPENED. ALL THESE LOGS WERE
BURIED AND A MASS PETRIFICATION EVENT OCCURRED. MASS PETRIFICATION,
PRETTY NEAT RIGHT? WELL HERE’S HOW IT HAPPENED. THERE WERE A BUNCH OF VOLCANOS
HAVING OUT TO THE WEST AND SOUTH OF HERE THAT
KEPT SPEWING OUT ASH. AS THE VOLCANIC ASH
FLEW INTO THE AIR, IT WAS CAUGHT BY THE WIND
WHICH WOULD SPREAD IT OUT ALL OVER THE PLACE, AND
SOMETIMES THE ASH WOULD LAND IN RIVERS AND STREAMS. VOLCANIC ASH IS MADE UP
OF A BUNCH OF STUFF BUT MOSTLY SILICA. SILICA DISSOLVES IN WATER,
SO BACK IN THE DAY IT FOUND ITS WAY
INTO THE RIVERS, AND EVENTUALLY INTO
THE SUNKEN LOGS. IN THE LOGS THE SILICA
RECRYSTALLIZED FORMING QUARTZ CRYSTALS WHICH FILLED
EVERY OPEN AREA OF THE SUNKEN TREES UNTIL EVENTUALLY
THEY WERE PURE STONE. OKAY, SO, YOU GOT A
LOG, YOU GOT A STREAM, YOU ADD SOME VOLCANOES,
ADD A BIT OF ASH, MIX IT ALL TOGETHER, WAIT A
COUPLE MILLION YEARS AND BOOM, PETRIFIED WOOD,
SIMPLE AS THAT. THE COOLEST THING ABOUT
PETRIFIED LOGS ARE PROBABLY THEIR AMAZING COLORS, WHICH
ARE MADE BY TRACES OF MINERALS LIKE IRON AND MANGANESE. THERE’S MILKY CLEAR
QUARTZ, PURPLE AMETHYST, AND YELLOW CITRINE. CARBON ALSO TURNS THINGS A
LITTLE BLACK AND CHROMIUM MAKES THEM LOOK
KIND OF GREENISH. ALL OF THESE COME
TOGETHER TO CREATE SOME REALLY SPECTACULAR
LOOKING FOSSILS. ALRIGHT, SO BACK
TO KIRBY’S ART. MILLIONS OF YEARS GO BY,
UNFORTUNATELY THE DINOSAURS DON’T MAKE IT AND
PANGEA BREAKS UP. OVER TIME ALL OF THOSE STREAMS
AND RIVERS DISAPPEARED, GIVING US THE LUSH,
RADIANT, BONE-DRY LANDSCAPE OF PRESENT DAY EASTERN ARIZONA. SO THESE LOGS ARE FOSSILIZED
RECORDS OF TREES THAT LIVED OVER 200 MILLION YEARS AGO. MOST ARE A SPECIES CALLED
“ARAUCARIOXYLON ARIZONICUM,” OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT,
BUT THE COOL THING IS THAT EVERY SINGLE SPECIES OF TREE
THEY’VE FOUND FOSSILIZED IN THIS PARK DOESN’T
EXIST ANYMORE. THEY’RE ALL EXTINCT. ON TOP OF THAT, PEOPLE
KEEP JACKING THIS STUFF AS SOUVENIRS, AND I
DON’T BLAME THEM BECAUSE, I MEAN, IT’S EVERYWHERE. BUT IT’S TURNING
INTO A PROBLEM. THE PARK IS LOSING
PETRIFIED WOOD VERY QUICKLY. HOW QUICKLY? VERY QUICKLY. IN ONE SURVEY THAT EXAMINED
JUST HOW FAST PEOPLE WERE PULLING THE OLD STICKY
FINGER MCGEE AT THIS PARK, MOST TEST SITES WERE
DECIMATED WITH A WEEK. IT TOOK ONE WEEK FOR PEOPLE
TO STEAL ALL THE ROCKS AT THESE LOCATIONS WHICH
IS KIND OF RIDICULOUS. I MEAN, THINK ABOUT
WHAT YOU’RE DOING GUYS. YOU’RE STEALING FROM
A NATIONAL PARK. THESE ARE LIKE THE LAST
PURE PLACES ON EARTH. HOW ABOUT YOU EXERCISE
A LITTLE RESTRAINT AND STOP STEALING FROM THE
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE? I BELIEVE IN YOU. THE NEAT THING IS, YOU
CAN FIND PETRIFIED WOOD PRETTY MUCH ANYWHERE. IN EVERY STATE IN THE
UNITED STATES AND IN SOME OTHER COUNTRIES TOO. SO YOU MIGHT EVEN BE
ABLE TO FIND SOME IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD. A NICE PIECE OF TREE HISTORY
FROM OVER 200 MILLION YEARS AGO, AND THAT’S PRETTY COOL.[FIREWORKS].

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