Meteor Crater National Landmark
Meteor Crater was on the way to the Petrified Forest and so we stopped there to gawk. Apparently, it is enough like the moon that NASA used it as a training base. Here is the crater:
At the bottom of the crater is an astronaut and flag similar to the moon landing for scale.
The rock walls of the crater tell of a significant event.
I don’t know what the geologic consequence of this event was but it was smaller than the extinction events but still must have been pretty powerful.
Petrified Forest National Park
The next stop was the Petrified Forest National Park. We didn’t get there until after 3:00 PM and due to staff shortages they close at 5:00 PM. We only had time to visit the visitor center and associated hike on the first day of our visit. It is an interesting place to visit. There are quite a variety of things to do and see in the park.
This is the story of how the trees became petrified.
This was a wet, heavily forested area when the trees were growing.
Rainbow Forest with Mark for scale
The trees were from the Triassic Period and there are fossils found in the area. These creatures predated the dinosaurs.
This one looks like a dinosaur but is closer related to a reptile.
That is as far as we got on the first day. We retreated to a nearby motel and regrouped for the next day.
The first stop the next day was the crystal forest:
The next hike was to see color:
There were native Americans living here many years ago.
The last stop in the park is the painted desert.
The Petrified Forest National Park was well worth the visit.
Mark and Meg