Thursday, October 22, 2015

Arizona Trip - Meteor Crater and Petrified Forest National Park

On the way to Sedona Arizona we passed a few things we thought would be interesting. On the way back we broke up the trip with a night in Holbrook so we could visit the Meteor Crater and Petrified Forest. They were kind of side trips off the highway and definitely deserved a day on their own! First stop was the Meteor Crater. This is the "world's best preserved meteor crater in the world" and they did a nice job with a narrated walk to the rim. An asteroid traveling at 26,000 mph hit earth here about 50,000 years ago. The hole is a mile across and about 2 and a half miles in circumference and over 550 feet deep! It is a huge hole! At the bottom there is a mine shaft and a bunch of stuff too small to see. We heard about a lot of the history of how they figured out what made the hole and all about different people who staked claims and made a hypothesis about the hole's origin. Very interesting. The interpretive center is nicely done with a movie and great displays.
Next up was the Petrified Forest National Park and Painted Desert. We went at sunset and then again in the morning when we had more time. The light was much nicer in the morning. The park has all kinds of "painted" hills and neat geology that are part of the Chinle Formation dating back about 200 million years ago. The trees are conifers, about 12 species, and are trunks only. The area was a large river basin and the trees were carried a long ways before settling in what is now the park. They look pretty weird because all the pieces look like they have been sawed into chunks. The silica/quartz mineralization fractures cleanly, which is why all the chunks look like they were cut and placed here. The longest single tree in the park is 141 feet. The colors of both the desert and the wood were amazing!

The Southwest is full of interesting and beautiful landscapes to explore. There are badlands and hoodoos and arroyos...vast open landscapes...big skies in all directions!


Sherlynette Castro said...

We want to visit!
- Tim and Sherly :-D

Jeff and Katrina Kruse said...

We would love to have you guys come visit! Just let us know when you can make it out here!