What Everyone Should Know about Petrified Wood

What Everyone Should Know about Petrified Wood

Written by : Posted on January 19, 2011 : 4 Comments
Petrified Wood

From my Gemstone Collection: The Colourful Contours of Petrified Wood

The Truth about Petrified Wood

The truth about Petrified Wood is that, well, it’s not wood. Not wood at all.

I know, it’s a little disappointing isn’t it?

But not to worry, I think the real story of how Petrified Wood occurs is pretty neat.

The Life of the Tree

A tree takes root, grows, lives and dies. Trees that have died often wear away to nothing through erosion and weathering. They are reduced to dust, carried away on the wind.

Then there are other trees. Trees from as long as 200 million years ago, that were washed to their resting places by raging torrents of water, then covered by sediment.

Those trees, buried under 100s of metres of rock, then underwent a fantastic transformation.

Here comes the neat part. Are you ready?

How Petrified Wood Occurs

Those entombed trees decomposed. Their organic matter was slowly washed away by circulating waters, way down deep. Little by little, those same waters also carried minerals into the cavities they left behind.

This took a while. Over a period of around 100 years, minerals such as silicate, quartz or agate replaced the form and contours of the original trees. Layer by layer, their intricacies were replaced by minerals such that they were, quite literally, reincarnated in stone; petrified.

I do so like the story of a gemstone. Fascinating.

Looking at the timescales also kind of helps me to keep things in perspective.

4 comments

  1. What a beautiful and fascinating story Gee, thanks for sharing. The patterns on this gemstone are truly stunning. And I agree, the timescale involved certainly encourages perspective! Alison

    • So glad you enjoyed it – thanks for stopping by! I have yet to decide what to make using this piece … mean time, I shall just enjoy it as it is.