The high desert of northern Arizona was once a tropical forest, home to large animals with sharp teeth—crocodilians, small dinosaurs, and reptiles. Freshwater sharks swam in the streams. Trees fell; animals died off and the whole mess fossilized in layers of primordial muck. Millions of years later, the desert heaved up petrified logs, sharks teeth, and bones. We know this area today as Petrified Forest National Park—a place where tourists can hike and take in sweeping views of the Painted Desert.
Those views could be spoiled by a new threat: gas wells. Conservationists say that a lot of companies taking up gas leases are actually looking for helium. The leases could lead to fracking in Arizona.
To learn more, see my story on helium exploration. https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/fracking-arizona-could-lead-next-helium-boom-petrified-forest-national-park