"Petrified Tree" Petrified Forest National Park Tip by jujub

  petrified log
by jujub

This is one of many petrified trees; it looks like wood but it's not!~

And now, for some scientifical explanation of this phenomenon (http://www.desertusa.com/mag00/jan/papr/rock.html):
The process of petrification begins with three raw ingredients: wood, water and mud. Petrification of the wood found in the Petrified Forest began during the Triassic Period when the primitive coinfers fell to the ground and into the waterways on a journey through time. The logs were swept and tumbled downstream with sediment and other debris.

In fact, 400 feet of sediments were deposited in the plain by the rivers that originated from the volcanic mountain range. The layer of sediments is known today as the Chinle Formation. As the logs were deposited in the plain they were buried with mud, water and debris. This is when the petrification process began.

The mud that covered the logs contained volcanic ash which was a key ingredient in the petrification process. When the volcanic ash began to decompose it released chemicals into the water and mud. As the water seeped into the wood the chemicals from the volcanic ash reacted to the wood and formed into quartz crystals. As the crystals grew over time, the wood became encased in the crystals which over millions of years, turned the wood into stone.

A number of mineral substances (such as calcite, pyrite, marcasite) can cause wood to petrify, but by far the most common is silica. Solutions of silica dissolved in ground water infiltrate the buried wood and through a complex chemical process are precipitated and left in the individual plant cells. Here the silica may take a variety of forms; it may be agate, jasper, chalcedony or opal. The beautiful and varied colors of petrified wood are caused by the presence of other minerals that enter the wood in solution with the silica. Iron oxides stain the wood orange, rust, red or yellow.? Manganese oxides produce blues, blacks or purple.

Address: Petrified Forest National Park, AZ 86028

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Apr 18, 2004
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