When wood becomes stone
Readers who have been paying attention will know all about how limestone is a fossilized rock, made up of millions of bits of shells, sand and mud compressed together thousands of millennia ago. But limestone isn't the only type of stone formed from fossilized remains.
Petrified wood – often seen in homes in the form of sinks, and lending a certain rustic, log cabin element to a property – is also a type of fossil. How it came to be that way is an interesting story.
The long process of petrification
Petrified wood is a crystal-like amalgamation of organic materials and minerals, maintaining the general appearance of wood while taking on the toughness and color of stone. Given that it's a fossil, you probably won't be surprised to learn that trees take millions of years to get to this point.
The wood must first be covered by substances like volcanic ash or lava flows, or lake sediments. This could be due to a volcanic eruption, or from logs simply being washed away and buried. Being covered in a thick blanket of volcanic material and sediment prevents oxygen from getting to the wood and decaying it.
At this point, a variety of minerals enter the wood, whether calcite, pyrite or marcasite, petrifying the wood. Silica is typically the most common mineral, but others can be prevalent too. For instance, in Arizona's Petrified Forest, the petrified wood is quartz. When these minerals crystallize over the following millions of years, we are left with the rainbow-colored, crystal like substance we know as petrified wood.
Keeping petrified wood protected
If you're thinking of utilizing petrified wood in your home, you have to remember that it effectively is a stone. That means it has all the advantages and weaknesses that any other stone does, including its vulnerability to certain substances, such as water or wine.
Seal your petrified wood surface with a product like META CRÈME™. It's already made it a couple of million years – why not ensure its survival for that little bit longer?