Fossils Give Clues to Wyoming's Paleo-Past
Coalification: Turning Swamps into Coal
Vegetation thrives in warm wetlands. As these plants die, they accumulate in a layer of material called peat. Peat generally occurs below the water line where bacteria turn the plants into a dark gel. Over time, the gel gets buried deeper under new layers of plant batter and peat. high temperatures within the earth essentially cook this material over millions of years, driving off moisture and converting the plant residue into the organic, sedimentary rock that we call coal.
Petrification: Turning Wood into Stone
Rings Reveal Age of Tree
The petrified tree next to the front door of the Visitor Information Center has visible tree rings. If you count them, you can estimate its age to be about 300-500 years old - when it died millions of years ago. it died young. The petrified tree near you is much larger and probably lived much longer, but its rings are harder to read. mature cypress trees in this area reached between 1,200 and 1,500 years of age.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Horticulture & Forestry • Paleontology.
Location. 44° 31.661′ N, 104° 12.346′ W. Marker is in Sundance, Wyoming, in Crook County. Marker is on Interstate 90. Marker is at the Wyoming Welcome Center. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Sundance WY 82729, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on August 4, 2011, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,537 times since then and 37 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on August 4, 2011, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.