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National Parks and Monuments
Petrified Forest National Park



Petrified Forest National Park

A Short Reader

Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 3 to 5
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   4.67

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    quartz, volcanic, upstream, deserts, weather, dies, rings, form, large, react, past, fact, eventually, same, sure, become
     content words:    Painted Desert, Petrified Forest National Park, Forest National Park


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Petrified Forest National Park
By Meg Leonard
  

1     Arizona is known for its hot weather and deserts. You usually don't think of forests or trees in Arizona. Visitors to the Painted Desert might be surprised to find the remains of a very old forest. In fact, there is a lot of petrified wood here. There is a national park to preserve it. It is called Petrified Forest National Park.
 
2     How does wood become petrified? Three things are needed for this to happen. They are wood, water, and mud. This is the process. A tree dies and falls to the ground. Before the tree can decay, it is covered with mud. The best mud has volcanic ash in it. When the ash begins to decay, it releases chemicals into the air and water. These chemicals react with the wood. Over time, the wood is covered by quartz crystals. This turns the wood into stone. Petrified wood can be many different colors. The colors come from the chemicals that form the crystals. Different chemicals make different colored petrified wood. It is hard to tell the age of the petrified wood in Arizona. The rings that usually tell the age of the tree are not there. This is because the climate was the same all year. The rings happen when there are different seasons.
 
3     You may be wondering how all of this could happen in a desert. The Painted Desert .....
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