What are friends for!

Everybody who knows us knows that we are really keen (mad) on dinosaurs and anything prehistoric.  Our friend Ian has just got back from America, and knowing what we are like, bought us back a present.

He spent three weeks in Arizona, and went to see a weird place (only the Americans do weird properly) called Stewart’s Petrified Wood.  We now have an actual piece of petrified wood from Arizona in our collection.

The wood comes from an area of forest outside Holbrook, Arizona.  This wood is the most colourful petrified wood in the world.  Around 225 million years ago, during the Triassic Era, the wood was covered up by either volcanic ash, volcanic mudflows, sediments in lakes or minerals washed up by violent floods.  This prevented oxygen from reaching the wood and prevented decay.  Silica dissolved in ground water got into the individual cells and chemically affected them, taking on a variety of forms: agate, jasper, chalcedony or opal.  The beautiful colours are caused by other minerals that are mixed with the silica.  Iron oxide stains the wood orange, rust, red or yellow.  Manganese oxide produces blues, blacks or purple.

This petrified forest is an important palaeontological site, the rocks in this region range from the Permian to the middle of the Triassic and a number of wonderful fossils of the animals that lived in this part of the world at the time have been unearthed.  Arizonasaurus and Paratypothorax are examples of prehistoric animals from this region.  Arizonasaurus was a fierce predator, one of the largest around at the time, whilst Paratypothorax was a plant-eater, relying on its thick armour plates to protect itself from attack.

Models of these strange animals are few and far between, but to view the Everything Dinosaur model range: Dinosaur Toys for Girls and Boys – Dinosaur Models

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