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949-Petrified Forest – Calistoga, CA

The Petrified Forest outside of Calistoga, CA displays the largest petrified trees in the world. These forests of redwood and pine trees once covered the hills of this area. A violent eruption from Mt. St. Helena, (not Mt. St. Helens – that’s in Oregon) covered these trees in a blanket of volcanic ash. For several million years, water saturated the ground dissolving silica from the ash. The silica eventually replaced the molecules of the wood, turning wood to solid silica, quartz, and stone.

949-Petrified Forest12The “Queen.” Measures 65’ in length, and 8’ in diameter. This tree was over 2,000 years old when it was living and was buried for over 3,400,000 years.

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949-Petrified Forest9The “Tunnel Tree” is 105’ in length and 6’ in diameter. It was discovered in 1919 and shows how much earth eventually covered these trees after millions of years.

949-Petrified Forest8Entrance to the tunnel.

949-Petrified Forest7This is the silica rock with a Madrone tree growing through it.

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949-Petrified Forest3They really look like wood, but are solid rock.

949-Petrified Forest2This is what the explorers originally found. Petrified tree chunks covered in moss.

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