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Earth Science Museum -- Petrified Forest of Mississippi, nr Flora MS
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Benchmark Blasterz
N 32° 30.879 W 090° 19.425
15S E 751402 N 3600640
Quick Description: A large rock and mineral display is part of the fun of visiting the Mississippi Petrified Forest
Location: Mississippi, United States
Date Posted: 9/26/2014 10:59:19 AM
Waymark Code: WMMJ4A
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member lenron
Views: 0

Long Description:
The Mississippi Petrified forest is a National Natural Landmark located in rural MS near the tiny town of Flora MS.

Blasterz thoroughly enjoyed our day at the Mississippi Petrified Forest. We visited less than a month after visiting Petrified Forest National Monument in AZ, so it was especially interesting for us to see how differently these trees were preserved through the same process.

NOTE: Younger Sister Blaster picked up a tick (found before it attached to her) on the Caveman Bench, so be sure and wear repellent and be tick aware. Mississippi is home to ticks that carry Lyme disease, so protect yourself!

From the Mississippi Petrified Forest website: (visit link)

Take an unforgettable journey back in time...36 million years to an ancient log jam deposited by a river from halfway across our young continent. The Mississippi Petrified Forest is a place of beauty and fascination. It almost seems to cast a soothing spell. At times there will be a sweet scent of wildflowers and honeysuckle vines, or the more pungent fragrance of the pine and cedar. Birds sing a musical interlude. More than a collection of old stone logs, this place is truly a living, ever-changing wonder, placed as a rare jewel for a man to ponder and enjoy.

Our History

The existence of this Petrified Forest has been known since the middle 1800’s, but only within the past four decades has it been developed and opened for the public. R.J. "Bob" and Shirl Schabilion acquired the “Petrified Forest” in August 1962. By example to their family and to others, they taught the values and practicalities that are to be found in conserving and preserving all of our natural resources -- and this was in a time long before the word “conservation” came into common use, as it is today.

The Mississippi Petrified Forest is a fascinating place, located in hills with ravines hollowed out by nature during the past century. The size of the petrified logs indicates that as living trees, these stone giants were over one hundred feet tall, and perhaps a thousand or more years old.

A roaring, thunderous, flood-swollen river snatched everything in its path. Flowing southward, it ripped and tore at the once magnificent trees. With the abating of this earth-changing force, the battered remnants of the trees finally began to sink, settling deeper into the watery ooze. Each fresh flood from the North brought more sand and silt to cover them. This continued for countless ages of time, ever more deeply burying the old trees. They slowly began to decay. Now the petrifaction process, turning once living trees into stone logs began.

Time moved forward to the age of the glaciers. As the glaciers pushed forward they pulverized everything in their path. A gradual melting began to take place and the water carried the finely ground glacial dust with it. The dust was eventually deposited on the flood plains. With little or no vegetation to hold the soil as it dried, winds began to pick up the fine dust particles.

Gigantic dust clouds were formed, becoming tremendous choking dust storms. These winds carried literally tons of this dust to the area where the stone logs lay buried far underground. As the winds died down the particles of glacial dust were dropped to the earth. When the last of the dust storms was over, the land over the logs had a mantle of fine tan-colored soil over it many feet deep. The great stone logs were to rest secure for many more thousands of years. Far above them grasses, bushes and trees would rise and grow in the soils laid down by the dust storms.

Erosion began in the tan colored Loess soil. The wind and the rain combined to nibble away at it. With each passing storm, more soil was washed away until small gullies began to appear. Over the years these forces enlarged the gullies until they widened and deepened into ravines. When the wind-blown soil had all been eroded and washed into the foot of the ravines, these forces began eating away at the lower layer, the reddish sands and silts of the Forest Hill formation, in which the old trees had become petrified or turned to stone.

The rain drops prodded out the grains of sand, until some of the stone logs became visible. Many had been broken into large pieces by the sheer weight of the deep, heavy layers of earth that rested on them. As the engulfing sands had been moved away from them, log sections tumbled down into the ravines revealing what we see today.

Attractions

Nature Trail

Walk along the Nature Trail and pause to read the Trail Guide at each point of interest. Moving at a leisurely pace, you begin to see the story of the Mississippi Petrified Forest unfold. Seeing all of the natural beauty surrounding the Trail, and hearing the sounds of nature, you will always be near to the huge logs that lie right next to the trail, some close enough to touch -- to feel the rugged roughness of stone beneath your fingers where there was once bark and wood - a living tree.

The most photographed log is the "Caveman's Bench," which lies right on the Forest Trail just where the eroding sands had placed it. Everyone tries it out for size, and it is a favorite spot for taking pictures. In the old piece of canyon wall beside the Bench are a number of log sections still embedded, which were once all part of the same huge tree.

The huge stone logs give us a glimpse into prehistoric time. What a primeval forest there must have been when these stone logs were living trees. What tremendous trees they must have been, some with trunks that may have measured twelve to fifteen feet across, their towering branches cresting a hundred or more feet into the sky. How few living trees there are today that can match the magnificence of these stone logs, giants of their own time and gigantic to us today.

Museum

The Earth Science Museum contains a large map with examples of petrified wood found in every state, and foreign petrified wood is represented as well. Plant life through the ages is shown by a variety of leaves, fruits, cones and bark. There are also fossil woods identified as to species. Many other kinds of fossils are on display - dinosaur footprints, whale bones, turtle shells, and many others -- even a complete cast of a prehistoric camel."
Type of Display: Geological

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Benchmark Blasterz visited Earth Science Museum -- Petrified Forest of Mississippi, nr Flora MS 9/1/2014 Benchmark Blasterz visited it