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Question for science geeks...

yellowhand

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As a rule,,,millions of years,,,,but,,,"natural conditions" are extremely variable.

The fallen/dead tree fills up with silica crystals, when over time, millions of years, give ya the petrified wood.

But, this process can be sped up under certain conditions, naturally occurring ones, say, fallen trees around a volcanic location, covered in ash heavy in silica.

And that,,,,is all I learned in that one elective course I needed to graduate on time.:)LOL
 

4x401

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As a rule,,,millions of years,,,,but,,,"natural conditions" are extremely variable.

The fallen/dead tree fills up with silica crystals, when over time, millions of years, give ya the petrified wood.

But, this process can be sped up under certain conditions, naturally occurring ones, say, fallen trees around a volcanic location, covered in ash heavy in silica.

And that,,,,is all I learned in that one elective course I needed to graduate on time.:)LOL
I just read all that (almost verbatim) when I asked the intardnet....😁
 

rkad

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Dry wood won’t petrify and wet wood has to petrify before it rots. How long does it take for wet wood to rot? Whatever time span that is, petrification would be less.
 

4x401

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Where did you find it? It looks like a great specimen.
I was rototilling an uncles garden when I was 12.

Tiller pulled it up from about 6" deep. The area found was Orchards Washington (East Vancouver).

It's the end of some tool handle. It fits my hand like a glove.
 

STG_58_guy

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I was rototilling an uncles garden when I was 12.

Tiller pulled it up from about 6" deep. The area found was Orchards Washington (East Vancouver).

It's the end of some tool handle. It fits my hand like a glove.
Nice find! Take it to your local university and have them take a look at it.

Long ago plants came up with lignin, which is what makes wood woody. For a hundred million years or so nothing had evolved the enzymes needed to break lignin down and digest it, so dead wood just piled up. Today we call those piles coal. Most petrified wood is from this era. After fungi and bacteria came up with the required enzymes, most wood decayed and was recycled into the biosphere, leaving few fossils. Your specimen is probably from this pre-enzyme era. Duck Duck Go lignin and see how old it probably is. I recall 300 mya but I am probably wrong.
 

TNAndy

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Dry wood won’t petrify and wet wood has to petrify before it rots. How long does it take for wet wood to rot? Whatever time span that is, petrification would be less.
Actually, if water--or more likely mud--prevents oxygen from reaching the wood, it can last for thousands of years. There are 2,000 year old boats that sank in mud that have been located, dug up, and preserved in museums.
 

jdowney

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It doesn't really look petrified to me, and your description doesn't sound like it could have petrified if it were a tool handle. Petrified wood is usually formed in a bed of volcanic ash if I remember correctly. The three requirements are silica from the ash, a lack of oxygen, and an abundance of ground water.

If you can scratch it with a knife, it's not petrified. Silica is a lot harder than steel.
 

357ross

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I think you have something much more significant than just a piece of petrified wood. Even if it's a more modern tool handle, the way it mineralized in such a short time is scientifically important.
 

4x401

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It doesn't really look petrified to me, and your description doesn't sound like it could have petrified if it were a tool handle. Petrified wood is usually formed in a bed of volcanic ash if I remember correctly. The three requirements are silica from the ash, a lack of oxygen, and an abundance of ground water.

If you can scratch it with a knife, it's not petrified. Silica is a lot harder than steel.
I can't scratch it with a knife..

It's smooth as glass except for where you see the obvious deterioration between the wood grain.
 

12v71

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I can't scratch it with a knife..

It's smooth as glass except for where you see the obvious deterioration between the wood grain.
I'm thinking it was randomly polished in a river at one time and broken in half. They still find stuff like that along the Columbia river below Vantage. I was on a leveling job east of vantage and we found plenty of unpolished petrified wood. Somewhere I have a chunk that looks like a 2x4 board, just really heavy.
 

jdowney

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I can't scratch it with a knife..

It's smooth as glass except for where you see the obvious deterioration between the wood grain.
Those closer pics, its definitely petrified wood, probably just seems like a tool handle. It's likely river washed as 12v71 is describing.
 
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