Monday, May 5, 2014

Petrified Trees Discovered At Hodges Gardens, Louisiana, 1937

(Above): Once of many petrified trees unearthed during the development of the ground for the Hodges Gardens.

From Louisiana Curiosities by Bonnye E. Stuart:

"A visit to Hodges Gardens State Park reveals flowers, shrubs, and trees of all kinds, from flowering dogwoods to petrified trees.  Once part of now-extinct tropical forests and dating from five million to twenty-five million years ago, these fossilized specimens are associated with the Miocene period.  Petrification occurs when a felled tree is preserved from decaying elements when silicon from rich mineral water is deposited in the tree's cells. 

The logs you'll see in this park are not actually logs at all.  All of the trees' organic substance has been replaced with silicon, creating exact silicon copies, or stone molds, of what used to be trees.  Their various colors are the result of contaminants in the quartz as it was deposited.  Hodges Gardens also has its share of wildlife, including wild turkeys and even buffalo."

A beautiful fossilized member of a now extinct tropical forest, petrified logs such as this and smaller pieces of petrified wood are somewhat common throughout the West Louisiana and East Texas region. The varying hues of color in the petrified log are a result of elements that contaminated the quartz as it was being deposited. 

(Above): Petrified trees aren't the only amazing natural feature of the Hodges Garden.
Here is a list of some of those contaminating elements and the colors that result when they’re present, some of the listed colors you will see in this petrified log, others you will not: carbon - black, cobalt - green/blue, chromium - green/blue, copper - green/blue, iron oxides - red, brown, and yellow, manganese - pink/orange, and manganese oxides - black.