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.
The “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.
The “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.
Entrance to the tunnel.
This is the silica rock with a Madrone tree growing through it.
They really look like wood, but are solid rock.
This is what the explorers originally found. Petrified tree chunks covered in moss.