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THE PETRIFIED FOREST.
One of Arizona's Most famous Nat ural Wonders. The passage, in the lower house of Congress a few days ago, of a bill set ting aside as a national park the great petrified forest of northern Arizona came just in time to save from de struction a wonderful natural curios ity which has but one equal on this continent — that, the Grand Canyon of the Colorado. In the Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, in California and northern Mexico, as well as in other portions of Arizona, have been found petrified trees, but none of them are to be com pared to the immense fossilized forest which lies close to Holbrook, where the government protectorate is to be established. The forest is in the midst of the great desert of Apache. Fifty miles to the northeast is the great Navajo In dian reservation; some eighty-five miles to the northwest is the Grand Canyon of the Colorado, and interven- ingi are several ancient Moki pueblos perched on their tablelands or mesas of stone. Scientists state that the Arizona forest belongs far back in the Meso zoic time, probably to the Triasslc formation, while the smaller forests found elsewhere are of the tertiary age. The difference in their antiquity is therefore probably millions of years. The forest proper covers some two square miles, but petrified trees are to be seen in an area of fifty square miles. It is a remarkable sight. Charles Dud ley Warner says that it is a spot where the most blase globe trotter stands in mute wonder. With the exception of a siaglo cot tonwood trunk, the trees are of an ex tinct coniferous species. They lie prone upon the ground. The sections or ends of the logs show brilliant re I and yel lows and. dull blues. The bark is not brilliant, but dull, and wonderfully well preserved. Some trees show even the knots to perfection. Some of t'ne petrified logs are four feet in diameter and from ten to twelve feet loner. They have no branches, but the hundreds of small pieces, varying from a couple of inches to one foot in diameter are probably the remains of branches. Here and there are heaps o of chips from the petrified trees, and their beauty of coloring is bewildering. There are literally thousands of bushels of chips that are red moss agate and may be beauti fully polished. There are many times more chips of amethysts, grap topaz and vari-hued agates, showing the grain of the trees as they grew millions of years ago. One may ob tain cross sections of logs, showing in completest detail the annual ring marks and separation of the bark from the trees The stone is of the hardest and takes and keeps an incomparable polish. Thousands of pounds of pieces from these trees, turned to agate, have be'en sent all over America and Europe to be polished and sold for ornaments. Indeed, so rapid hast grown the work of despoiling the forest, that in many places scores of trees have been en tirely removed. The Zuni Indians told the United States surveyors about the spot where their polished agates came from and Colonel John W. Stedman was prob ably the first white man who ever LOCATION OF THE PERMANENT HEADING OF THE IMPERIAL CANAL SYSTEM ON THE COLORADO RIVER. looked upon the pertrified forests. That was in 1851, and two years later he told of his discovery in a New York newspaper. In July, 1852, Jules Mar ceau, another United States civil en gineer, made a collection of specimens and extensive mention is made of it in the government reports. The tourist and vandal did not get at it until near 1880, when the Santa Fe railroad was built. The stone was polished and manu factured at Sioux Falls, S. D., until a recent government order stopped the removal of the stone from the forest. The cost of cutting and polishing the petrifaction approaches that of treat ing diamonds, as it is calculated to be seven-tenths the hardness of a dia mond. The aboriginal Indians of Arizona and New Mexico found the petrified forest a mine of wealth to them, ages before the white man saw America. Jewelry charms, idold, arrow points, pestles and various weapons made of the beautiful chips from the stone trees may still be found, centuries old, among the tribes as far north as Wy oming and as far south as Zacatecas, Mexico. The Navajos and Zunis of New Mexico used to make annual trips IMPERIAL PRESS across the deserts of sand to the trees of agate and the articles made from the polished, attractive stone were eag erly traded for by other tribes of the southwest. The action of heat and cold has broken most of the fossils into sec tions from two to twenty feet long, and some of them must have been im mense trees. Measuring the exposed parts of several, they must have been from 150 to 200 feet in length, and from two to four and one-half feet in diameter. "Agate bridge" is the most notable feature of this land of wonders. The portion of the forest where the finest specimens are found is in Apache county, from seventeen to twenty miles from Holbrook. The "bridge" is a tree trunk transformed into the finest agate which spans a chasm sixty feet wide. This precious gem is 110 feet long and five feet and three inches in diameter at the base, tapering to three feet at the apex, and it contains enough ma terial to give labor to all of the lapi- daries in the world for the next gener ation. This log is one of thousands, many of them broken into huge frag- ments. It is impossible to conceive of the marvelous beauty of this region, for the ground is covered with ame thysts, red and yellow jasper, topaz, onyx, carnelian and gigantic specimens of agate of every variety— gems as big as flour barrels and steam boilers. Sections of some of the trees in the petrified forest several feet in diameter and large enough for the tops of ta bles, have been cut and polished. Not even the imperial works at Elactorin kalkar.Bto jasper, massive malachite bourg, in Russia, with their wealth of kalkansto jasper, massive malchite and other superb ornaments in stone, can rival the beauty of the agatized forest of Arizona. From Holbrook station over 300 tons of agate and jasper from the petrified forests were shipped to stone polishers during the year 189G, and the amount has increased during some years since. A hotel in Denver had a counter made of polished slabs from two of the finest stone trees In the forest.. Some com mercial vandals have, with dynamite, blown to pieces magnificent specimens of trees to get a pocketful of chips and crystals from the heart of the tree. A scientific theory concerning the petrifaction Is to the effect that after the forest of pines and cedars was established, the basin or valley becamo a lake. This valley has an area ap proximately of 100 by 80 miles, and is surrounded by extinct volcanoa» Theso volcanoes emptied themselves into the lake and the trees became soaked with silicious water. Silicia took the place of every fiber and atom of wood. Tho colors of red, brown, purple and yellow came from the iron and manganese in solution in the water. All this took place before tho existence of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado. When nature formed that big ditch, tne lake was drained and the water in its rush to the northwest leveled the stone trees, breaking them off as smoothly as if they had been sawed. This sustains tho theory that the trees were petri fied where they grew. The fact that nearly all of the fallen trunks lie in one direction and to the northwest sustains the theory that the lake emptied to the northwest and into the Grand Canyon. Every year reports of finds of new trees come to Arizona and New Mexico towns, being brought by cowboys, prospectors, surveyors, explorers who go across the deserts, out among the remote mountains. The most impor tant discovery of petrified trees. In years was that made by James M, Pul ver, territorial geologist, and his party, two years ago. Mr. Pulver reported that there was a group of fine logs in the foothills about twelve miles east of Winslow, and probably forty-five miles from agate bridge. He was hunt ing; lost horses when he came upon sandstone cliffs notable because of their unusual perpendicularity. These cliffs have worn away, leaving exposed huge trees, which may be observed for a distance of a mile or more from the valley, standing out in bold relief, like pillars of an ancient temple. A closer view shows these trees to be from four to six feet in diameter and often twenty or thirty feet high, with their great roots running off into solid rock. A great niche in the face of the rock shows the place from which one of these trunks has fallen. Some of the remaining ones appear just ready to fall, while others project just a little beyond the face, indicating that the mountain is filled with these trees. Several miles westward along the slope of the mountains, a small but remarkable petrified forest was found. 9