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
While some trees that die in swamps turn into soft coal, others turn into hard stone. Submerged underwater in the muddy, low-oxygen conditions of a swamp, some tree trunks are protected from
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.
Location. 44° 31.661′ N, 104° 12.346′ W. Marker is in Sundance, Wyoming, in Crook County. Marker is on Interstate 90. Touch for map. Marker is at the Wyoming Welcome Center. Marker is in this post office area: Sundance WY 82729, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Vore Buffalo Jump (here, next to this marker); Bird of the Black Hills (here, next to this marker); Rich Colors, Rich Lands (here, next to this marker); The Custer Trail
Categories. • Horticulture & Forestry • Paleontology •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 4, 2011, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,375 times since then and 85 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on August 4, 2011, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.