Petrified Wood

 

HNZ owns the mineral rights to commercial quantities of petrified wood in both Navajo and Apache Counties, Arizona. Petrified wood resources on HNZ Mineral lands occur in a discontinuous band that surround the southern end of the Petrified Forest National Park (PFNP). In general, HNZ's petrified wood resources in Navajo County occur on HNZ mineral lands, and those in Apache County occur on HNZ surface and mineral lands.

 

Historically, HNZ has licensed operators to extract and sell petrified wood from NZ mineral lands in Navajo County, but all extraction licenses for operations have since been terminated. Unauthorized extraction activities have also taken place, resulting in damaged and lost petrified wood resources in several areas.

 

There is a strong stratigraphic evidence that certain HNZ mineral lands contain significant subsurface resources of petrified wood. Although many of these are not likely to be economically viable at this time, the conceivably are the single richest source of petrified wood on HNZ lands, and certainly should be considered in evaluating the value of the mineral rights of these properties.

 

Of particular importance to this study is the proximity of HNZ petrified wood resources to the Petrified Forest National Park. In the current political climate, petrified wood resources therefore must be evaluated not only in terms of effort required to extract and market value, but also in terms of public perception of extraction activities.

 

A Unique and Rare Asset

 

In 1866, the United States government, in order to finance the building of railroads to the West, deeded the land and mineral rights containing this petrified wood to the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway Company, which eventually incorporated into New Mexico and Arizona Land Company, and was later purchased and formed into a limited liability company by Robert M. Worsley.

 

petrified wood to the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway Company, which eventually incorporated into New Mexico and Arizona Land Company, and was later purchased and formed into a limited liability company by Robert M. Worsley.

 

Origins & Explanations

 

Speaking of his fascination with petrified wood, Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519), once said: “These depths are now so high that they have become mountains, and the rivers that wear away the sides of these mountains lay bare the layers of these fossils.”

 

Paleobotany is a branch of botany dealing with fossilized plants. For a tree to become petrified, it must be in an anaerobic environment to prevent decay, that is, it somehow must be buried in an oxygen free environment, possibly in the bend of a silt-laden river, in the bottom of a lake or, most frequently in volcanic deposits.

 

The petrified forests of northern Arizona from the Triassic Period were buried and exposed to large amounts of volcanic materials. Waters passing through overlying volcanic ash laden with silica preserved the wood. of these mountains lay bare the layers of these fossils.”

 

Paleobotany is a branch of botany dealing with fossilized plants. For a tree to become petrified, it must be in an of these mountains lay bare the layers of these fossils.”

 

Paleobotany is a branch of botany dealing with fossilized plants. For a tree to become petrified, it must be in an anaerobic environment to prevent decay, that is, it somehow must be buried in an oxygen free environment, possibly in the bend of a silt-laden river, in the bottom of a lake or, most frequently in volcanic deposits.

 

The petrified forests of northern Arizona from the Triassic Period were buried and exposed to large amounts of volcanic materials. Waters passing through overlying volcanic ash laden with silica preserved the wood.

Specimens from Arizona are commonly from the Triassic Chinle Formation. Colors vary widely, depending on the area and the member of the Chinle Formation in which the wood petrified. Two Hundred twenty five million years ago, the northern part of Arizona was a huge, low-lying plain whose elevation seldom exceeded more than a few meters above sea level. Swamps and rivers meandered across the landscape; lush vegetation provided food and habitat for numerous prehistoric animals.

 

Native Americans had various beliefs about the origin of the petrified logs in what is now Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. Natives of the Paiute tribe held that these giant petrifications were spent arrow shafts and spears dispatched by the Thunder God Shinauav and his enemies during a great battle. Members of the Navajo tribe believed they were the bones of the great giant monster Yeitso.

 

Of the billions of trees ever to have photosynthesized under the sun, only a minute fraction were placed in the circumstances to fossilize and only a small fraction of those survived.

 

“Rock gives reality to the otherwise abstract notion of transhuman time.” Edward Abbey

 

Quotations selected from: Petrified Wood, By: Frank J. Daniels; Petrified Forests, The World’s 31 Most Beautiful Petrified Forests, By: Ulrich Dernbach.

 

 

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