Blue forest petrified wood is one of the most unique and, yet, diverse types of petrified wood that exist. Found in the vicinity of Eden Valley, Wyoming, blue forest is typically smaller than average petrified woods. A good, general limb size may be about three to four inches in diameter; some up to more than a foot in diameter; others as little as half an inch or less. Incredibly, it dates to about 50 million years ago!
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Known for its rich blues, you will typically find that greens and blacks are also equally common. Regardless of color, blue forest petrified wood is often characterized by vivid tree rings and insect borings or heavily agatized areas and other interesting attributes that make this petrified wood one of the most cherished in the world.
And how did the blue forest come to be? While we aren’t scientists, there is plentiful information about blue forest petrified wood for us to draw upon. Around 50 million years ago (during the Eocene Epoch) forests of trees in Eden Valley and the Green River area of Wyoming most likely encountered volcanic explosions or similar activity that downed trees, with the trees eventually becoming submerged in water. Over time, an algae would encase the trees completely, the beginning of the first stages of petrification. This was a slow process that replaced the dead organic material from the tree with quartz, silica, agate, and other minerals. Once the mineral-filled water had entirely replaced the branches, the limbs, and even whole tree sections, intricate details like tree rings or insect borings were permanently preserved. The origins of the various colors are directly related to the types of minerals that were present during this process.
Looking at the images below, you can see the differences between raw specimens and specimens that have been cut or those that have been polished. The transformation is remarkable.
Beyond the incredible beauty, blue forest petrified wood contains many interesting attributes. Take a look at the images below. Here you will find botryoidal features (from the Greek, meaning bunches of grapes!). Botryoidal features are bubbling to say the least, but also add an ancient and primitive element to each specimen. Interestingly, not all blue forest has botryoidal features. And botryoidal features are not only limited to petrified wood, but often found in many other minerals.
Another interesting aspect about blue forest petrified wood is the rich diversity found within individual log specimens. If you view the two rough log specimens below, you get a general sense of what colors might be present in the final polished piece and also what type of exterior attributes it will contain such as botryoidal features, bark details, and so on. Check out the two below specimens:
But the joy of cutting these fine specimens is the mystery of what hides beneath the surface. In fact, the colors, matrix, and various mineral properties can all change from one slice to another within the same log. Check these out:
And the below photographs show even more astonishing changes, just within 3 inches:
Because of the differences between the top and bottom slab shown in photographs above, I have opted to cut it again in the middle where I believe I will find a little bit more of each matrix represented.