Petrified wood

Petrified wood

Petrified wood (from the Greek root "petro" meaning "rock" or "stone", literally "wood turned into stone") is a type of fossil: it consists of fossil wood where all the organic materials have been replaced with minerals (most often a silicate, such as quartz), while retaining the original structure of the wood. The petrifaction process occurs underground, when wood becomes buried under sediment and is initially preserved due to a lack of oxygen. Mineral-rich water flowing through the sediment deposits minerals in the plant's cells and as the plant's lignin and cellulose decay away, a stone mould forms in its place. It probably takes less than 100 years for wood to petrify. []

Elements such as manganese, iron and copper in the water/mud during the petrification process give petrified wood a variety of color ranges. Pure quartz crystals are colorless, but when contaminants are added to the process the crystals take on a yellow, red or other tint.

Following is a list of contaminating elements and related color hues:
*carbon - black
*cobalt - green/blue
*chromium - green/blue
*copper - green/blue
*iron oxides - red, brown, and yellow
*manganese - pink/orange
*manganese oxides - black/yellow

Petrified wood can preserve the original structure of the wood in all its detail, down to the microscopic level. Structures such as tree rings and the various tissues are often observed features.

Petrified wood has a Mohs hardness of 7, the same as quartz.

Petrified wood is the provincial stone of Alberta and also the state gem of Washington.


*Argentina - Considered to be one of the world's best petrified reserves, the Petrified Forest National Monument in Chubut Province in the Argentine Patagonia has many trees that measure more than 3 m (10 ft) in diameter and 30 m (100 ft) long. Compared to petrified trees in the United States that measure less than 1.8 m (6 ft) in diameter, the trees of the Central Steppes of Argentina are significantly larger.
*Belgium - Geosite Goudberg near Hoegaarden. [cite web |url= |title=A petrified forrest near Hoegaarden]
*Canada - In the badlands of southern Alberta; petrified wood is the provincial stone of Alberta. Axel Heiberg Island in Nunavut has among the largest petrified forests in the world
*Czech Republic, Nová Paka - The most famous locality on Permian-Carboniferous rocks in the Czech Republic.
*Germany - The museum of natural history in Chemnitz has a collection of petrified trees found in the town in 1737.
*Egypt petrified forest in Cairo-Suez road, declared a national protectorate by the minstery of environment, also in the area of New Cairo at the Extension of Nasr city, El Qattamiyya, near El Maadi distrect, Al Farafra oasis [] , Al Fayoum depression and actually the entire western desert [ [ Fossils: The Other Ancient Egypt ] ] .
*Greece - Petrified Forest of Lesvos, at the western tip of the island of Lesbos, is possibly the largest of the petrified forests, covering an area of over 150 km² and declared a National Monument in 1985. Large, upright trunks complete with root systems can be found, as well as trunks up to 22 m in length.
*Libya - Great Sand Sea - Hundreds of square miles of petrified trunks, branches and other debris mixed with Stone Age artifacts.
*United States - Some of the better known petrified wood sites include:
** Petrified Wood Park in Lemmon, South Dakota.
** Ginkgo/Wanapum State Park in Washington State
** Grotto of the Redemption, a private park in Iowa.
** Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona
** Petrified Forest (California) in California
*Australia - Has vast deposits of petrified and opalised wood.
*India- A geological site famous for its petrified woods Thiruvakkarai Village in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. The site is protected by the Geological Survey of India. Petrified woods covers a large area in this site.
*New Zealand - Curio Bay on the Catlins coast contains many petrified wood examples.

Artificial petrified wood

Artificial petrified wood has been produced in a Washington lab. In the process small cubes of pine were soaked in an acid bath for two days then in a silica solution for another two. The product was then cooked at 1400 °C in an argon atmosphere for two hours. The result was silicon carbide ceramic which preserved the intricate cell structure of the wood. Soaking in a tungsten solution produced a tungsten carbide petrified wood. [ "Petrified Wood in Days",, January 25, 2005 ] ["Presto! Instant Petrified Wood Created in Lab", Live Science, 27 January 2005 ]

ee also

*Petrified palmwood
*"Araucarioxylon arizonicum"
*Petrified Forest of Lesvos


External links

* [ The Petrified forest of Lesvos - Protected Natural Monument]
* [ The Town Museum of Nová Paka]
* [ The Mississippi Petrified Forest]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • petrified wood — Fossil formed by the infiltration of minerals into cavities between and within cells of natural wood, usually by silica (silicon dioxide, SiO2) or calcite (calcium carbonate, CaCO3). Often this replacement of organic tissue by mineral deposits is …   Universalium

  • Petrified (disambiguation) — Petrified can mean the following:* Petrified (song), a song by Fort Minor * Petrifaction, the process in which organic material becomes mineralized and preserved as a pretrified fossil such as Petrified wood …   Wikipedia

  • Wood — /wood/, n. 1. Grant, 1892 1942, U.S. painter. 2. Leonard, 1860 1927, U.S. military doctor and political administrator. * * * I Hard, fibrous material formed by the accumulation of secondary xylem produced by the vascular cambium. It is the… …   Universalium

  • Wood Opal — either is a form of Petrified wood which has developed on opalescent sheen or, alternatively, but more rarely, where the wood has been completely replaced by Opal …   Wikipedia

  • Petrified Forest National Park — Infobox protected area | name = Petrified Forest National Park iucn category = II caption = locator x = 65 locator y = 107 location = Apache County Navajo County, Arizona, USA nearest city = Holbrook lat degrees = 35 lat minutes = 03 lat seconds …   Wikipedia

  • Petrified palmwood — taxobox name = Petrified palmwood status = Fossil regnum = Plantae unranked divisio = Angiosperms unranked classis = Monocots unranked ordo = Commelinids ordo = Arecales familia = Arecaceae genus = Palmoxylon subdivision ranks = Species… …   Wikipedia

  • petrified — pet|ri|fied [ˈpetrıfaıd] adj [Date: 1400 1500; : French; Origin: pétrifier, from Greek petra rock ] 1.) extremely frightened, especially so frightened that you cannot move or think petrified of ▪ I m petrified of spiders. petrified with… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • petrified — [[t]pe̱trɪfaɪd[/t]] 1) ADJ GRADED: oft ADJ of n/ ing, ADJ that If you are petrified, you are extremely frightened, perhaps so frightened that you cannot think or move. I ve always been petrified of being alone... Most people seem to be petrified… …   English dictionary

  • Petrified Forest National Park — a national park in E Arizona: buried tree trunks turned to stone by the action of mineral laden water. 147 sq. mi. (381 sq. km). * * * National park, eastern Arizona, U.S. Established as a national monument in 1906 and as a national park in 1962 …   Universalium

  • petrified — adjective 1 extremely frightened, especially so frightened that you cannot move or think: She stood there, petrified at the thought of the crowds waiting outside. 2 petrified wood/trees/insects etc wood, trees etc that have changed into stone… …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.