|Lush Virgin Forests of Rewoods Existed 3.4 Million Years Ago||Herds of Mammals Like the Mammoth Fled the Eruption||Volanic Explosion Helped to Create the Petrified Forest|
For days foraging mammals of the Neogene Period of our ancient history were "anxious" of a yet unknown threat and grazed with a feeling of impending doom. Browsers like the mammoth or giant horse would look up ocassionally for predators like the Dire Wolf or Saber Toothed tiger and see none. Then the rumbling began - first faint then more violent. Herds of mammoths and giant horses fled the forest for the coastline some 30 miles away. The rumbling turned to thunder and a violent explosion as the top of a mountain blew off unleasing hurricane winds, ash and explosive debres. The forest was flattened and covered with a film of ash awaiting the cryptic codes of nature and time to change the molecular structure from living cells to a petrified crystallayine structure.
Approximately 3.4 million years ago Mount St Helena, which is located in the northern end of the Napa Valley, was formed by a volcanic eruption which spewed ash over a 10 mile wide circle. The eruption's explosive force was only a fraction of the 1980 eruption of Mount St Helens in Washington, yet huge virgin redwood forests were knocked over and covered with volcanic ash. In 1880 pioneer, Charlie Evans, while clearing fields for his cows, discovered the "Petrified Forest" and started conducting tours. Today a splendid tour awaits the novice who wants a glimpse into the geological history of a catastrophic event of the past. Well maintained trails meander through excavations of ancient trees - now solid as rocks. In the giftshop you can purchase a souvenir of petrified wood, crystal minerals, or artifact of the paleosoic era when giant insects, dinosaurs and winged reptiles hunted in the sky's above today's redwood forests and vineyards. Tours take 20 minutes and cost $5 for adults. Open year around from 10am - 6pm summertime and 10am - 5pm winters.
$ PETRIFIED FOREST