Petrified Wood

Araucaryoxylon Arizonicum

The world famous petrified wood Araucaryoxylon arizonicum is an extinct species of conifer that is the state fossil of Arizona and that was first described in 1889 by paleobotanist Frank Hall. Known from the huge tree trunks that have weathered out of the Triassic Chinle Formation of northern Arizona, Utah and New Mexico, the species may indeed represent one of three species discovered from this formation.  

Rainbow Wood

As a consequence of the range and brilliance of colors characteristic of cross-sections of this fossil, it is often referred to as “Rainbow Wood”. Such colors derive from silification of the fossilized wood by minerals such as iron oxide (red and yellow), hematite (red), purple (fine spherules of hematite), and limonite (yellow).

Chinle Formation

Fossil woods of the Chinle Formation exposures in Arizona and Utah have yielded distinctly different patterns of mineralization of the few identified genera. The most prevalent fossilized wood encountered in the Chinle Formation is Araucaryoxylon (more than 80%), followed by Woodworthia, and far more rarely, examples of Shilderia and “star dadoxylon”.

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