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USA (national)

Arizona State Fossil

Petrified wood - clcik to see all state fossils
Photo of petrified wood log at Petrified Forest National Park -
photo courtesy Free Public Domain Photo Database: Petrified Wood
See All State Fossils & Dinosaurs.

Petrified Wood

See petrified wood video below

Petrified wood (Araucarioxylon arizonicum) was designated the state fossil of Arizona in 1988. Petrified Forest National Park in northern Arizona has one of the world's largest and most colorful concentrations of petrified wood. Made up of almost solid quartz, each piece of petrified wood is like a giant crystal, often sparkling in the sunlight with a rainbow of colors.

Petrified wood log - clcik to see all state fossils
Petrified wood log - photo from free public domain photo.org.
See All State Fossils & Dinosaurs.

Over 200 million years ago, the original logs were washed into an ancient river system and buried quickly by sediment so that oxygen was cut off and decay was slowed to a process that would take centuries. Minerals such as silica were absorbed into the porous wood over hundreds and thousands of years and crystallized within the cellular structure, replacing the organic material (petrified wood weighs as much as 150-200 pounds per cubic foot).

Source:
Petrified Forest: National Park Service
Links:
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Ancient Forests: A Closer Look at Fossil Wood
Ancient Forests:
A Closer Look at Fossil Wood


Petrified Wood: The World of Fossilized Wood,
Cones, Ferns, and Cycads
by Frank J. Daniels  

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