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José Ormachea Petrified Forest See map

About 25 kilometers south of the town of Sarmiento is a large pool of petrified wood in natural state that is called José Ormachea Petrified Forest

Bosque Petrificado SarmientoNowhere else on the planet there is such a vast area with petrified logs, as in Sarmiento Forest.

There you can admire not only the remains of tree trunks, but also leaves, branches, fruits and seeds. The forest has the advantage of not having been affected by the negligence of Mary Julia, their wood can not burn.

While it escaped the flames, it could not wriggle out of predation in the 60s, when the oil boom drilling companies flooded the region and their trucks went by the forest before the powerless eyes of the villagers.

Still, the fossil remains of these trees cover the largest area of ​​all known. Scholars agree that looking at the fragments scattered throughout the area is safe to say that they were abundant and some of the trees could exceed 100 meters.

The largest and best collections of mineralized wood are linked to Patagonia, especially related to the constant presence throughout the Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras, enabling environments for the development of forests and a constant and intense volcanic activity that has provided the basic raw material for the petrification: silica. 

Bosque Petrificado, SarmientoThe place that houses the petrified forest.

The petrification means that something organic has turned to stone. The death of any animal or plant should be covered by earth, ashes, sand or mud, which forms a protective layer, but permeable to water. If the penetrant liquid has salts or silica, these substances replace organic molecules by osmosis. The entire process can take centuries or millennias, depending on the volume of water available and the proportion of minerals found in it.

To get to the petrified forest you should go to the town of Sarmiento, 165 kilometers west of Comodoro Rivadavia, along Provincial Route 26. From there, to south, you must pass through 25 kilometers of marked trails and rangers services.

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