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The image shows the center of a polished slice of a petrified tree from Arizona. After the enlargement of the image it is possible to see the remains of insects deep in the tree that lived approximately 230 million years ago in the late Triassic
Petrified log at the Petrified Forest National Park
Polished Petrified Wood
Polished slice of petrified wood
Petrified logs
The outline of cells visible in a segment of 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.

In general, wood takes less than 100 years to petrify. The organic matter needs to become petrified before it decomposes completely.[1] A forest where the wood has petrified becomes known as a petrified forest.

Contents

Elements

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:

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 crystal.

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

Locations

Artificial petrified wood

Artificial petrified wood has been produced in a Washington laboratory. 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.[8][9]

See also

References

External links

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