Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone is the oldest national park in the United States; spanning parts of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. Millions of tourists visit Yellowstone each year to marvel at a plethora of natural splendor. The park hosts a variety of protected wildlife, geothermal vents, and a tremendous collection of petrified wood.
One of the best vantage points for investigating these petrified remains is Specimen Ridge. At numerous places around Specimen Ridge petrified tree trunks can be found jutting out of the ground, and many sticking straight up as though they were buried while still standing. Yellowstone claims that its petrified trees represent 27 successive forests that lived upwards of 50 million years ago.
A plaque at Yellowstone reads the following: "Across the valley rise the slopes of Specimen Ridge, but the forest you see there today is only the latest chapter in a remarkable story. Buried within the volcanic rocks that compose the mountain are twenty-seven distinct layers of fossil forests that flourished 50 million years ago."
It is believed by young earth creationists that the majority of the earth's fossils are the remains of the plants and animals that were killed by the Biblical flood of Noah. A significant challenge for creationists has been to explain the existence of Yellowstone's fossil forests from a flood geology perspective.
The Catastrophological ExplanationWhile investigating the aftermath of the Mt. St. Helens eruption in 1980, a creationary geologist from the Institute for Creation Research named Steven Austin observed a mechanisms for the formation of upright fossilized trees following catastrophic upheaval. Steven Austin noted that the trees blown down by the eruption of Mt. St. Helens were floating in nearby Spirit Lake, and many were floating upright.
It was then postulated by Austin that these upright floating trees would sink to the bottom, and be buried in this same position. Upon further investigations this theory received significant substantiation. Observations from SCUBA divers and sonar readings revealed that 20 to 40 thousand upright trunks were planted at the bottom of Spirit Lake. It is estimated that at least ten percent of the trees at the bottom of Spirit Lake have been deposited in the upright position.
- Specimen Ridge Photo Gallery by Lowell Baker
- The Yellowstone petrified forests - Evidence of catastrophe by Jonathan Sarfati
- The Yellowstone Petrified "Forests" by Harold G. Coffin. Origins 24(1):2-44 (1997)
- The Organic Levels of the Yellowstone Petrified Forests by Harold G. Coffin
- The Yellowstone Petrified Forests by John Morris, Ph. D.