Statement of Significance (as of designation - January 20, 1999):
Petrified Sea Gardens is significant in the history of geology as the area where stromatolites were first recognized, described, and interpreted in North America, resolving questions about the origin of these organisms that puzzled geologists for more than a century. The property is also significant for its association with Winifred Goldring, a pioneering woman geologist, who conducted the most exhaustive study of the site. Goldring was able to identify the kind of organism that created the stromatolites and interpret the ecology and environmental setting of these important, once-widespread ancient life forms. These interpretations have helped geologists understand significant environmental and ecological changes that have taken place on Earth through the ensuing half-billion years since the stromatolites of the Petrified Sea Gardens were alive.