The Marvellous Petrified Forest of Sarmiento
The only one of its kind in the world, this forest of statuesque trees offers a sense of geological peace that cannot be found elsewhere.
30 kilometres from the city of Sarmiento, in southern Argentina, and with a surface that covers 24 acres of an alien-like land, this natural monument is a forest that dates back to Cenozoic era, which means it is roughly 65 million years old.
Its fortuitous formation is due to the elevation of the Andes range at beginning of the Tertiary age (also known as “the Age of Mammals”), and prevented the humidity of the Pacific getting through. At the same time, a series of eruptions occurred, and the ash deposits were spread over the area leading to the slow process of these trees transformation into stone.
Petrified trees, witnesses of the prehistoric era, make up an indescribable beauty of the harshness of the stone, the colours of the different geological strata and the heavy silence that covers the area. The vegetable species that became statues belong to the conifer family, which gives the idea that this region was an abundant forest billions of years ago.
The petrified forest of Sarmiento a quasi-lunar landscape and the coloured hills that surround it allow visitors to witness a geology museum; natural history preserved in stone.
Currently this forest is a desolate landscape because of the arid steppe that covers it, and it has also become a provincial park, open to the public and protected by institutions concerned with its study and conservation.
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