John Muir Finds Arizona's Petrified Forests Five Million Years Old.

John Muir Finds Arizona's Petrified Forests Five Million Years Old.


John Muir


Kimes Entry Number


Original Date


William and Maymie Kimes Annotation

In this article Muir is designated ""the Thoreau of California, the man who coaxes Nature's best-guarded secrets from her."" During the reporter's visit, Muir states: ""The general character of the country of the petrified forest is brown, but nothing can equal the glory of the color revealed in the heart of the trees. Nature knows how to mix fast colors. In this vast laboratory of hers she has made the most beautiful silica in the world . . . ."" Muir goes on to relate the depredation that occurred in earlier days when tons of petrified wood were hauled off to be ""made into tables and pedestals and a great variety of ornamental pieces, the owners of them never knowing perhaps how unique a belonging they had. Outside of declaring possession and taking most casual measures for protection of the forest, the government has done nothing until the present time, when certain enactments are in the making to place them on a footing similar to that of other wonderlands of the government."" Muir continues: ""Petrified forests elsewhere are mere babies compared with those in Arizona. Proof of this statement I did not find in the three duly registered forests, six, seven and eight miles from Adamana, but in one which my daughter and I discovered fully ten miles to the north of this place and exactly in the opposite direction from the beaten path. We went out into this interesting wilderness [on] horseback and there found the fossils of sigillaria, the unmistakable token of the carboniferous age. On one of them I noticed peculiar markings, the leaf scars, which are distribued spirially [sic] around the stems, similarly to those found on the lepidodendron. This geological record shows that the forests cannot be less than 5,000,000 years old-how much more no man can tell.""


San Francisco Chronicle


p. 2, cols. 1-5



John Muir Finds Arizona's Petrified Forests Five Million Years Old.