While driving across Washington State recently I came across a sign that read "Ginkgo Petrified Forest - Next Exit". Seeing as I was in the most barren, dry and otherwise rather unbecoming area of the state you can imagine how the sign caught my eye. I had a bit of time to kill so I decided to take the exit and check out this "Petrified Forest" at Vantage Washington. I was interested not only in the "petrified" part but also in the "Ginkgo" part. I have profiled the Ginkgo tree and I was rather curious to see a petrified forest of them. (Ginkgos are a very rare species of tree that are only found growing wild in a small area of China. )
About three miles of the freeway I came across the "interpretive trail". Still no trees in sight, not even logs or any evidence of a "petrified forest", just Sagebrush and rocky (Basalt) ground as far as the eye could see. Camera in hand I started to make the circuit around the interpretive trail. The first four pictures in this post were taken as I walked along the trail.
As it turned out the "Petrified forest" was embedded in a layer of Basalt and only a few of the logs of have been exposed by erosion (these are rather large, complete logs I must add). These could be viewed along the trail although they are protected by some metal grates set in concrete. I guess they don´t want people to chip off pieces of the logs. The logs themselves are very impressive although they are not Ginkgo logs, except for ONE!. Along the path there are Spruce, Elm, Sequoia, Maple, Walnut and the one famous Ginkgo that gave the buried petrified forest its name.
The cross section below as well as the fully exposed log are found at the Ginkgo Gem Shop that is located near the interpretive center. This "rock" shop has a great collection of petrified wood and fossils from the local area as well as from all around the word.