Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park, Washington

Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park and Wanapum Recreational Area are located in central region of Washington State, beside the Wanapum Lake reservoir on the Columbia River.

Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park is located atop the basalt cliff that line Wanapum Lake reservoir

Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park is located atop the basalt cliffs that line Wanapum Lake reservoir

The native Wanapum people carved over 300 petroglyphs into the basalt cliffs along this part of the Columbia River. About 60 were saved and relocated to the Ginkgo Petrified Forest interpretive centre when Wanapum Lake reservoir was constructed.

The native Wanapum people carved over 300 petroglyphs into the basalt cliffs along this part of the Columbia River. About 60 were saved and relocated to the Ginkgo Petrified Forest interpretive centre when Wanapum Lake reservoir was constructed.

Petrified wood was first discovered at what is now Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park in the 1930s. Specimens representing a remarkable number of different tree species (over 50) have been identified, but the park gets its name from the extremely rare occurrence of fossilised Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba).

They may look like ordinary rocks, but they're actually fossil trees

They may look like ordinary rocks, but they’re actually fossil trees

IMG_8059The trees preserved in the park lived during the Miocene geological period, about 15.5 million years ago. Although this part of Washington State is today a scrub-covered desert, during the Miocene it was a lush, damp forest.

Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park is today arid scrubland

Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park is today arid scrubland

The square frames beside the path indicate the presence of fossilised logs

The square frames beside the path indicate the presence of fossilised logs

Rich has found another one!

Rich has found another one!

Volcanic eruptions first buried this area of forest in ash, and then flows of basalt, protecting the tree remains during the petrification process. These protective layers were removed during a series of catastrophic floods at the end of the last ice age, between about 15,000 and 13,000 years ago.

IMG_8056Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park was officially designated a National Natural Landmark in 1965.

This post was inspired by Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, which this week is Weathered Wood.

Didn't notice this sign until after we'd been wandering around the desert!

Didn’t notice this sign until after we’d been wandering around the desert!

While you’re marvelling about rocks that used to be trees, why not sign up and follow my continuing Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal (on WordPress or Bloglovin’), or through my website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr?

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About Jaspa

Star of my own award-winning adventure novels, Jaspa's Journey. Geocaching addict & F1 fan. Adventure Journeyer & blogger extraordinaire. Check out my website: www.jaspasjourney.com And don’t forget to download the books and see what the buzz is all about!
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12 Responses to Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park, Washington

  1. Cee Neuner says:

    Brilliant entry. I just love petrified wood. 🙂

  2. offshoots12 says:

    I really enjoyed this lesson. Thanks so much!

  3. mukhamani says:

    Thank you, it was like being there:) Regards.

  4. that is wood that will weather in a whole different way 🙂

  5. jay53 says:

    Ha! I looked at the photo of Rich saying ‘found another one’ and thought .. I wouldn’t dare to poke around in the scrub in a rattlesnake zone. LOL!

    Petrified wood is fascinating, isn’t it? Love the pictures, especially the one with the logs in the foreground and the lake behind .. but I also have a fondness for the petroglyphs.

  6. jpeggytaylor says:

    What a fascinating place – petrified trees are real relics – amazing!

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