Petrified Wood

January 2009
World Book Science Dataset;1/1/2009, p1
Reference Entry
Petrified Wood, wood that has been fossilized by being turned into stone. Petrifaction is a natural process that may form fossils from the solid remains of any plant or animal. However, it more commonly happens to wood than to animals and nonwoody plants. The process occurs when the substance soaks, over a long period of time, in water containing a mineral (or minerals). Gradually, the mineral either fills every pore and cavity of the organic matter, or the mineral-containing water dissolves the original organic material and replaces it with mineral matter. Eventually, the mineral forms a perfect copy of the original substance, including cell structure and fibers. The replacement mineral is usually a variety of quartz, ordinarily of the chalcedony type. Sometimes it is opal, calcite (calcium carbonate), or carnotite, a source of uranium.


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