What Is A Fossil Forest

Fossil forests are often found along seacoasts.

Fossil forests are composed of fossil trees, most often buried entirely within sedimentary rocks, in upright, slanting or flat positions. Fossil forests date from geological periods that include the Triassic, Jurassic, Carboniferous and Cretaceous eras.


Some ancient fossil forests are preserved in sedimentary rocks–sandstone, limestone and shale. Other fossil forests aren’t petrified–turned to stone by minerals replacing the wood cell structure–but are preserved underground.

North America

The Petrified Forest of Arizona and the fossil forests in Yellowstone National Park are famous examples of fossil forests in the U.S. One extensive fossil forest is located in Western Nova Scotia along the coast of the Bay of Fundy.


Countries in Europe with fossil forests include England, Italy, Germany and France. A fossil forest found in the village of Nostimo, Macedonia, is 20 million years old.

Non-Petrified Fossil Forests

Lignite miners in Hungary discovered a non-petrified fossil forest in an open pit lignite mine, with at least 16 upright trees. Petrified fossil forests have been discovered in South America.

Asia, Africa and Australia

Russia, China and Japan all have fossil forests. The Chirundu Fossil Forest National Monument site, in Zambia, Africa, contains fossilized tree trunks that are 4 feet in diameter. A fossil pine forest is located at Fennell Bay, Lake Macquarie, New South Wales.

Arctic and Antarctica

The remains of a non-petrified fossil forest from 50 million years ago are buried near Ellsmere Island in the Canadian Arctic. Fossil forests composed of trees and rooted plants have also been discovered on Alexander Island in Antarctica.

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