Talk takes Pocklington Probus Club members on a trip to Arizona
At a time when opportunities for distant foreign travel are virtually impossible, members of Pocklington Probus Club were able to expand their horizons at their April meeting.
Brian James, Huggate resident and club member, used Zoom facilities to give a highly informative illustrated talk on his visit to the Petrified Forest National Park in north-eastern Arizona.
He explained that he and his wife Margaret had been able to visit over half a dozen National Parks in the western States of USA over several years.
By way of introduction, Brian explained that there are 62 Federally operated National Parks in USA and that, in normal times, they receive over 80 million visitors each year.
Additionally, the various States control 5,800 State Parks and there are also 129 National Monuments, usually established by the Decree of an individual President.
Brian’s talk featured the Petrified Forest that occupies 135,000 acres and receives 650,000 visitors each year. Although the area is now classified as ‘high plain’ (it is approximately 6,000 feet above sea level), in pre-historic times it was densely forested.
After intense volcanic action some four million years ago, the forest became deeply enveloped in ash.
Subsequent penetration by water-borne minerals transformed the fallen trees into stone.
Brian was able show several photographs of huge trees that survive as fossils.
Although this area of Arizona is now very sparsely populated, Brian talked about the existence of the Puebloan peoples who occupied this region until the start of the 15th century.
It is thought that they ‘disappeared’ following a dramatic change in climatic conditions that eliminated their means of sustenance.
Climate change is by no means a recent phenomenon.