Petrified wood is the name given to a special type of fossilized remains of terrestrial vegetation. Petrifaction is the result of a tree or tree-like plants having been replaced by stone via a mineralization process that often includes permineralization and replacement. The organic materials making up cell walls have been replicated with minerals (mostly a silicate, such as opal, chalcedony, or quartz). In some instances, the original structure of the stem tissue may be partially retained. Unlike other plant fossils, which are typically impressions or compressions, petrified wood is a three-dimensional representation of the original organic material.
The petrifaction process occurs underground, when wood becomes buried in water-saturated sediment or volcanic ash. The presence of water reduces the availability of oxygen which inhibits aerobic decomposition by bacteria and fungi. Mineral-laden water flowing through the sediments may lead to permineralization, which occurs when minerals precipitate out of solution filling the interiors of cells and other empty spaces. During replacement, the plant's cell walls act as a template for mineralization. There needs to be a balance between the decay of cellulose and lignin and mineral templating for cellular detail to be preserved with fidelity. Most of the organic matter often decomposes, however some of the lignin may remain. Silica in the form of Opal-A, can encrust and permeate wood relatively quickly in hot spring environments. However, petrified wood is most commonly associated with trees that were buried in fine grained sediments of deltas and floodplains or volcanic lahars and ash beds. A forest where such material has petrified becomes known as a petrified forest.
The petrified trunks in the park is a must-see thing, don’t miss it!
Sand and Sandstone
Sand, sandstone, quartzite, shale, marl, and limestone are some of the rocks recorded in the protected area.
Gebel Ahmar (Red Mountain) Formation
The lower Oligocene (28-34 million years ago) Gebel Ahmar Formation is composed of sand and gravel of fluvial (river) origin.
Tel El Zalat (Gravel Hill)
This is a site in the deeper end of the main channel with high energy conditions.
Marine to Continental Environment Transition
The Eocene/ Oligocene boundary is apparent here.
Things to do
The Park is a perfect place for enjoying the peace, nature and quietness in the heart of Cairo! Visitors can enjoy sightseeing, petrified remains watching, walking on the designated trails, desert biking, practicing Yoga, star gazing, running, camping, photography, barbequing, and other outdoor activities.
Information about the park features are being provided at the Information Panels that have very attractive interpretation panels with valuable information illustrated by graphics and maps.
You can always visit the Park Office and meet Park Rangers who can give you advice on what to do in the Park and can explain about the Park features and attractions.
Detailed information about Park attractions and things to do can be obtained from the Education Center section in this website.