After purchasing the ranch in January 2005, we did several exploratory projects and small scale collecting from 2005 – 2010. They were done by experienced petrified wood miners and yielded good returns. They were for the most part two to three weeks in duration each and largely concentrated in the Eastern quarter of section 31. Some exploration trenching was done across the southern quarter of sections 31, 32, and 33.
Future exploration is scheduled on these three sections, and also on section 34, using trenching with an excavator, large backhoe, and/or ditch digger, along a fairly tight grid patter. The proposed distance between trenches being 20 to 40 ft.
Exploratory core drilling has intersected logs as far down as 800 ft., providing proof that the petrified wood inventory on this ranch is extensive and will not be mined by only this generation of owners.
A day digging always involves trenching with our excavator until we intersect a log. Our trenches are 10 to 15 ft. deep depending on hardness of the host clay bed. Once one or more logs have been intersected we proceed to open up a pit around them so we can define the shape and length of the logs and extract them with minimum damage to the petrified wood. The digging out of logs requires a highly skilled operator plus a man in the pit directing the separation and lifting out of each log section.
As our afternoon winds down, we load all of our daily findings onto our flatbed semi truck and trailers, leaving nothing behind for the night crew, and to have clear access for the next day’s diggings. We also will backfill our trenches and pits in order to ensure the ease and safety of future work, whether the next day or the season. Going on out on the ranch today, one will see no signs of any trenches or pits as nature, with a little help from our reseeding efforts, quickly reclaims the worked ground