Potash is a product used in fertilizer. It is high in potassium and is found naturally in underground deposits. It is a soft mineral, like salt. The Holbrook basin has been explored for oil and gas for a long time, without success. During those explorations, however, other minerals have been found, including potash in the 1960’s.
It wasn’t until the global price of potash, however, reached an historic peak in 2008 that this became news worth acting on. The Arizona Geological Survey issued a newsletter that year proclaiming “Arizona Has Potash” which began a small rush for mineral rights in the area of Petrified Forest National Park. The center of the estimated potash deposit is directly under the south end of the park. [Read more]
Petrified Forest National Park proposed to expand its boundaries east and west along the south side of the Puerco escarpment in 1993. The park had grown in the past to the north, primarily for the purpose of reaching Route 66, when it became the primary highway through the area during the Depression. The 1993 proposal was for the purpose of protecting more paleontological and archeological resources.
Paleontological resources are known to be found in the badlands and the sides of mesas along the east–west trending Puerco escarpment. Archeological sites are known to be found in the higher areas of grasslands and on mesa tops—rock art is known to be found in the boulders cascading from the edges of mesas along the same escarpments. [Read more]