Apologies for the late entry today. I’ve been waiting for the university’s email servers to return to operation before hitting the publish button, since there are nearly eight hundred subscribers of BPotD by email and I wasn’t sure what affect the disruption in service might have.
To make up for it, though, I’ve a few goodies to share with you before getting to today’s entry. First of all, visitors to BPotD are now tracked geographically via a Clustrmap. If you’ve ever wondered about where BPotD is being viewed and read, here’s your opportunity to find out. To get continental subsets of the results, click on the continents in the map. I’ve also added icons linking to the Clustrmap from BPotD’s main page and near the bottom of every entry page.
Secondly, I’m now not the only member of the garden staff blogging. Visit the UBC Botanical Garden Blog for a glimpse at what’s happening in the garden, courtesy (for now) of Andy Hill. More staff members will be sharing their experiences very soon!
There are no immediately apparent plants in this photograph of Petrified Forest National Park. If you adjust the lens on your mind’s eye to look over two hundred million years ago , however, the plain dotted by rocks of petrified wood transforms into an ancient river bed with submerged logs of Araucarioxylon arizonicum (a monkey-puzzle tree / Wollemi pine relative) covered by a thick blanket of sediment. The sediment had a high concentration of silica-rich volcanic ash, which permineralized the fallen logs. The presence of iron and manganese oxides helped to colour the substituting silica, causing the intriguingly-hued quartz one sees today.
To learn more about the park (and its problems with theft), visit the Wikipedia page about it: Petrified Forest National Park. If you’ve more time to read and learn, either browse through the US National Park Service’s site for the park (linked above or specifically visit the page on petrified wood) or read “The Object At Hand”, an article from The Smithsonian Magazine.