The Malm Gulch Petrified Forest is located in the hills south of Challis, Idaho. There are numerous stumps of fossil trees found amongst the hillsides & six of the best preserved specimens are secured around fences with some stumps six feet in diameter. From the information signs:
Fifty million years ago, this area was much different. The climate here was cool and wet much like the Coast Range. Giant sequoia forests covered rugged, hilly highlands. Ferns blanketed the forest floor. The Salmon River flowed south from here to the Snake River Plain.
Volcanism started in this area 51 million years ago from a variety of vents and continued until about 40 million years ago. Flows and tuffs cover almost 1,900 square miles of east-central and south-central Idaho and are up to 10,000 feet thick.
Twin Peaks caldera, west of Challis, is roughly 12.5 miles in diameter and is the major source for the volcanic ash in Malm Gulch. During its eruption, ash fell from the sky and flowed on to the existing rugged highlands of Precambrian and Paleozoic sedimentary rocks. It engulfed and petrified the sequoias that once grew here.
Lavender, light green and white hillsides formed after the volcanic ash cooled and solidified. These fences were installed in the 1970s to protect the last examples of an ancient petrified sequoia forest. These 50 million year old sentinels are all that remain of what was once a large sequoia forest.
Petrified wood has been a coveted material for thousands of years, appearing first in the prehistoric record as stone tool materials, and later in the collections of rock collectors and jewelry makers.
Please enjoy these last remnants, but do not take them. Leave them where they stand so that others can appreciate them.
Idaho is a state located in the northwestern region of the United States of America. Idaho is the 14th largest state by area, ranks 39th by population and 53rd by population density of the 50 United States. Idaho was the 43rd state to be admitted into the Union, on July 3, 1890. Idaho is landlocked, being bordered by Canada on the north and the states of Washington and Oregon on the west, Nevada and Utah on the south and Montana and Wyoming on the east. Idaho is nicknamed "The Gem State" because nearly every known gemstone is found within the state. Idaho is also famous for producing about one third of all potatoes grown in the USA. Idaho also hosts the largest barrel cheese factory in the world, producing 120K metric tons of cheese per year. There is some ambiguity as to where the name "Idaho" came from, but it is generally believed to have simply been made up by George M. Willing. There is a possibility it was derived from a Native American phrase. Idaho is very mountainous and is a popular outing destination of the outdoorsman. The state population was about 1.58M in July 2011 with 84% being Caucasian, 11.2% Hispanic and 1.1% Native American. The state capital and largest city is Boise.Source: wikipedia