Greetings wood collectors. I have a new find, August 22nd. 2007.
Here I will attempt to tease with a 63 pound full round, full blue blue forest specimen note ruler for scale. I had a very lucky day collecting in the neighborhood!
I live near the "blue forest" and have spent a great deal of time there in the past dozen years collecting PETRIFIED WOOD. The forest plateaus are only about 50 miles north northeast of my home. The famous blue color comes from just a pinch of tin in the ancient groundwater mineralization. Blue agatized fossil eocene tropical hardwoods: in what was a significant surface and shallow prehistoric shoreline deposit-that is our western Wyoming blue forest. You may continue.
Myth #1. My first comment is there is no amber found in the blue forest wood. It is the mistakenly named calcite that is the golden and softer mineral. Calcite was the last mineral to come out of liquid suspension in the groundwater permineralization process. Of the 30+ fossilized woods identified at the blue forest there are no conifers that grew at the blue forest thus, no amber. To double check, heat a pin very hot and touch the suspected amber. If it burns and smells like pine pitch burning, it is amber. None has for me or my associates yet.
Myth #2. About anywhere you dig that hasn't been dug yet is likely to be a good place to dig even today (see my blue forest winter guide). I prefer to do a Three Stooges act and throw a pebble over my shoulder and start digging with zest...it works better than witching...funny! On average, about every third hole will produce very well and take the rest of the day to complete the whole specimen, or the pieces of the specimen as it commonly occurs. Bring your super glue along!
Myth #3. There is no geologic proof of any earthquake in the area. Ancient Lake Gosiute has raised and lowered water levels over 6,000 times in the 4 million years of the lakes existance (48-52 million years ago-Green River eocene). Trees were flooded, algae grew on the exterior of the submerged trees, the water level receded, silica rich water with about 4% tin filled in the void where the desicated tree/wood remained. The blue boytrodial chalcedony formed as result in part to the raising and lowering of the waters over time. Calcite went into the mix and as mentioned previously, turned to a solid last. Most of the wood has insect damage and bore holes are common. Holes were filled in with agate as well.
Myth #4. Confirmed! I heard last week ((11/30/06) (confirmed 1/28/07) that the gas exploration companies have flags all over the blue forest and the restriction to new roads and pipelines MAY be in the process of being recinded. It may look different on your next trip to the forest (also confirmed).
Tools: shovel, tiny camp shovel-trenching tool, whisk broom, wire brush, canvas to sit on, small pry bar, larger pry bar, trowel, specimen collecting box (a 10 quart pail is about 25 pounds of wood when filled, that's the daily limit), newspaper to wrap specimens in, lunch and water, there is no store except the Fontenelle or Farson store with in miles, gas up in Rock Springs, Green River, Farson, or Big Piney. Camping is at the Dripping Springs Campground on the Green River, or dry camp at the forest. Realize the area is in a large natural gas developement boom and it will provide sounds and some traffic 24/7.
This is not your fathers blue forest. Be sure to bring your fish pole as the trout in the Green offer blue ribbon class fishing just 4 miles away. One day resident licence is $4, non resident $10 daily. Artificials only. Slot sizes too. Fat trout.
Very rare blue forest palm round, with insect damage, and fungal damage and even some bark.
Keeping in mind it was an ancient shoreline littered with thousands of tons of wood, it is not hard to imagine that digging in this area will produce good wood. Fighting the layers of algae are the issue to contend with. I estimate that probably 1/3 to 1/2 of the wood is still there yet to be collected. The algae is our beloved Chlorellopsis coloniata Reis, that is everywhere in the Green River Basin and including most of the Red Desert proper as well. I have ruined much wood by trying to remove the algae in the field in a haste. The algae weight adds to the total collecting weight allowed by the BLM. All digging is from the surface to about six feet deep, my best success is around two to four feet most all of the time.
I would like to remind visitors to the Blue Forest that the BLM had not had a recriprecal policing agreement with the Bureau of Reclamation (whose land it is located on), until just a few short years ago and thus the BLM ranger didn't show up much...if at all. Now, expect to see the ranger enforcing the 25 pounds plus 1 piece per day collecting rule and enforcing filling in your holes. You can also expect a large fine for commercial digging if caught selling commercially. Please read the Code of Federal Regulations Part 43, Sub part 3622. You are allowed to dig 25 pounds plus one piece per day. Not to exceed 250 pounds per year. Hand digging only. Not for commercial use.
Estate collection specimens are permitted to be marketed back to the public with BLM approval. The largest risk to losing digging ability at the Blue Forest is from the BLM's monitoring the poor practices of not filling in the holes, and public littering. Former U.S. Senator Thomas has seen the mess first hand, and the BLM is leaning toward some form of minimizing the impact to the area so be forewarned. It is located in a very high density gas drilling project and the whole area is under scrutiny from environmental watchdogs.
Good luck hunting, beware regulations, and don't believe everything about amber, earthquakes, and divining rods. Oh, and pick up your trash and take it home with you.
Feeling blue? Blue forest! BLM office HAS THE collecting regulations information.
Also just compiled-a guide on bleaching petrified wood and the reasons for bleaching wood. Bleaching is not a bad thing. Be sure to see that guide for some good photos.
Be sure to see my Blue Forest in Winter Jan. 28 visit, and my new STEFOINITE GUIDE and my 108 pound "rudy" stefonite specimen.
In my wildest dreams: to be a top 500 reviewer. You can vote for each of my guides if you like each of them. Thank you for your vote maybe.
Only one in 367 visitors take the time to vote for this guide....doesn't seem worth it to keep it up at times. mjwy