Petrified wood 15 million years old found in WA





SOMEWHERE NEAR YAKIMA -- Clyde Friend was bulldozing a driveway around his shop when he first saw them in the dirt: gleaming pieces of the past. A forest of stone, more than 15 million years old.

For the past five years, on this hillside above Yakima, Friend has been pulling out pieces of rare petrified wood, no two pieces alike. Branches, trunks and slices in sunset colors. Pieces purple and blue as mussel shells. Pieces like winter sky, gray and white and all the tones in between. Pieces that ring like a bell when struck.

In the process, this 50-year-old heavy-equipment operator, who lives in a motor home on his property among the sagebrush and the chukars, may have uncovered something scientists say would be very rare: a glimpse of an upright ancient forest of hickory, elm, maple and sweet gum from the Miocene Epoch, a time of mastodons and saber-toothed tigers.


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