Within the Gallatin Range, the Gallatin Petrified Forest is one of the largest petrified forests of the Eocene Epoch. The petrified wood that comprise it consist of the mineralized fossils of a mixture of transported logs and in place (in situ) wooden tree trunks rooted. The in place tree trunks are rooted in moderately developed fossil soils, (paleosols). The petrified logs, stumps, and trunks found in the Gallatin Range were buried by volcaniclahars. The lahar deposits sometimes have been reworked and redeposited by small streams. These sediments accumulated approximately 50 million year ago. The U.S. Forest Service has a 2 mile (3.2 km) long interpretive trail which details the petrified trees.
In regard to these fossil forests and other fossils, collecting of fossils in Yellowstone National Park is illegal. In addition, visitors should stay on marked and maintained trails.
Images of the Gallatin Range
Steamboat Mountain in January 2006
Panorama from Blacktail Plateau, Yellowstone National Park, 2010
^Amidon, L (1997) Paleoclimate Study of Eocene Fossil Woods and Associated Paleosols from the Gallatin Petrified Forest, Gallatin National Forest, SW Montana. unpublished Master's thesis, University of Montana.
^ abSoderberg, K, and V Soderberg (2005) The Best in Tent Camping: Montana: A Guide for Car Campers Who Hate RVs, Concrete Slabs, and Loud Portable Stereos. Menasha Ridge Press, Birmingham, Alabama.