Friday mystery photo

Petrified Forest Wilderness

flickr, Petrified Forest Ranger (NPS Photo)

Can you guess where this mystery photo was taken?

If you said Petrified Forest Wilderness, you are correct. Petrified Forest Wilderness occupies more than half of Arizona's Petrified Forest National Park.

Hundreds of millions of years ago, fallen pine trees were buried by volcanic ash and mud. Silica carried by groundwater deposited into the logs and then became quartz, thus petrifying the wood. Centuries later, what was once a forest had turned into the Painted Desert, and erosion unveiled gigantic sections of beautiful petrified wood.

In addition to its colorful tree trunks of stone, this wilderness area also boasts evidence of humans from thousands of years ago in petroglyphs and houses built of stone.

Visitors can explore these lands by hiking, backpacking, horseback riding and even geocaching.

But think twice about ignoring "Leave No Trace" principles here - there's a long history of cases of bad luck for those who take any gorgeous rocks. 

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