Petrified wood is formed when the wood is submersed in water containing minerals, which eventually take over the wood's organic matter, creating a fossil of stone.
The process of wood being turned into stone is called permineralization. All organic matter is removed, but the original structure of the stem tissue remains. Waterlogged wood in sedimentary water becomes preserved due to the lack of oxygen in the water. Minerals in the water flow through the wood and take over the structure as the organic components begin to decay. The minerals make an exact replica of the wood's fibers and cells, creating a stone mold over the wood.
The mineral most often associated with wood petrifaction is quartz. Opal, calcite and carnotite can also be found in petrified wood. The process of permineralization of wood takes a few years but lasts millions. The beauty of the color and intrinsic quality of petrified wood make it valuable in jewelry, paperweights, and other decor. It can be cut and polished or left in its natural state. There are forests of petrified wood in various parts of the world. Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona has stone logs that are more than 160 million years old.Learn More
While no one knows for certain how the Earth formed, scientists theorize that it formed over 4 million years ago after the sun went through its initial formation, gravity began to draw heavy particles together into a planet and solar winds blew away lighter gases. These heavy particles became the core of the planet. As the mass continued to grow, heavier particles sank to the center, according to Space.com.Full Answer >
Onyx is a type of agate known as chalcedony, formed by intergrowths of silica minerals. The chert form of quartz is also used to make onyx jewelry items.Full Answer >
Mountains are formed by the movements of the Earth's crust and tectonic plates. Movements deep beneath the Earth's surface cause a variety of reactions, which results in different types of mountains. Mountains can form as a result of volcanic activity, the collision of two tectonic plates or movement along a fault line.Full Answer >
Oil is formed when organic materials are buried under sedimentary rock; anoxic conditions and intense pressure cause a gradual transformation in petroleum. Most of the components of oil are small algae and zooplankton, although some larger animals like dinosaurs are also in the mix. This process takes hundreds of thousands of years.Full Answer >