The colorful rocks of the Petrified Forest are part of the Upper Triassic Chinle Formation and represent mud, sand, and gravel deposited by a large river system more than 225 million years ago. In the Tepees area of the park, the rocks of the Chinle Formation consist of the bluish muds of the Blue Mesa Member. These sediments represent ancient floodplains. Fossils are common in this area including bones of fish, amphibians, and reptiles, Common are fossils of early relatives of alligators and crocodiles, as well as some of the world's oldest dinosaurs.
The first fossil bones from this area were discovered and collected by the naturalist John Muir in 1905. Muir's collection ended up at the University of California Museum of Paleontology at Berkeley, which was founded in the late nineteens by a heiress and adventurer named Annie Alexander. A zoologist and paleontologist, Alexander came out to this area in 1921 and made large collections of fossil bones. This collection is the basis of all paleontology work conducted in the park since. The park has an active research program in paleontology that discovers hundreds of new fossils every year and teaches us about what life was like during the Triassic Period.
This cache is within the boundary of Petrified Forest National Park and is only accessible during park operating hours. Please park and cache carefully and observe all park regulations. Payment of the park entry fee is required to access this cache.
The cache container is camoflauged to conceal it somewhat, but is in plain sight from several angles. If the cache container disappears you can log this cache by noting some of the information found at the cache location. Please replace the container carefully.