Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Returned rocks

 
Rangers at Petrified Forest National Park in northeastern Arizona standing over piles of petrified wood that has been confiscated or returned. 1st image, Nick Poulos, 2nd image, Lauren Carter.

Since 1906, when Arizona's Petrified Forest National Park was established by President Teddy Roosevelt, visitors have been compelled to take away bits and pieces of the mineralized wood of trees that grew 200 million years ago. Sizes range from pieces small enough to fit in the hand to chunks large enough to require 2 people to carry off. Some of the petrified wood was seized during the theft or at inspections afterward and the rest of it was either left behind by visitors as they exited the park or returned after they got home - some of it years later. Reasons not to do so:
Unfortunately, returning the so-called "conscience" rocks does not undo the damage, merely assuaging the thief's guilt and adding to the large piles at the gates to the park. Between them, the park's 600,000 annual visitors steal the petrified wood at an estimated rate of a ton per month.
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Woodies:

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