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Petrified wood (from the Greek root petro meaning "rock" or "stone"; literally "wood turned into stone") is the name given to a special type of fossilized remains of terrestrial vegetation. It is the result of a tree having turned completely into stone by the process of permineralization. All the organic materials have been replaced with minerals (most often a silicate, such as quartz), while retaining the original structure of the wood. Unlike other types of fossils which are typically impressions or compressions, petrified wood is a three dimensional representation of the original organic material. The petrifaction process occurs underground, when wood becomes buried under sediment and is initially preserved due to a lack of oxygen which inhibits aerobic decomposition. Mineral-laden water flowing through the sediment deposits minerals in the plant's cells and as the plant's lignin and cellulose decay, a stone mould forms in its place.
In general, wood takes fewer than 100 years to petrify. The organic matter needs to become petrified before it decomposes completely. A forest where the wood has petrified becomes known as a petrified forest.
Elements such as manganese, iron and copper in the water/mud during the petrifaction process give petrified wood a variety of color ranges. Pure quartz crystals are colorless, but when contaminants are added to the process the crystals take on a yellow, red, or other tint.
Following is a list of contaminating elements and related color hues:
Carbon - black
Cobalt - green/blue
Chromium - green/blue
Copper - green/blue
Iron oxides - red, brown, and yellow
Manganese - pink/orange
Manganese oxides - black/yellow
Petrified wood can preserve the original structure of the wood in all its detail, down to the microscopic level. Structures such as tree rings and the various tissues are often observed features.
Petrified wood has a Mohs hardness of 7, the same as quartz crystal.
Fossilized Petrified Wood, which is also known as Agatized Wood, forms when a tree has died and silicon dioxide forms in place of the wood that degrades until there is no wood left, only Quartz. It works with the Root and Third-Eye Chakras to bring wonderful healing energies to both physical and emotional issues. Many people like Petrified Wood for its ancient energies, lending to enhanced past-life work. Petrified wood teaches us patience and helps us to understand how to allow life to evolve in perfection. Working with its grounding energies can encourage one to live life as a spiritual being within this physical realm.
Many people like to use Petrified Wood to help connect with the energies of the Earth. These Petrified Wood Pieces are a great way for city dwellers to keep the vibrations of nature near in the concrete jungle. Meditation with Petrified wood may take you back to connect with a time when your Spirit was cradled by Nature. Petrified wood encourages people to respect and look after their environment, ever finding ways to live simply, in harmony with the Spirit of the planet. Carry Petrified Wood with you when you feel disconnected from Nature.