Petrification is the natural (magical) act of permineralization. Throughout time, once a piece of wood has been buried underground, minerals can slowly become deposited into the tree’s cells. The minerals harden, turning into a stone mold while the organic material surrounding it dies away.
When thinking about the largest petrified tree, Arizona, California, and the Yellow Stone National Park, all come to mind. Well, I hate to break it to you but, Thailand is actually on record as being home to one of the largest petrified trees discovered thus far.
Everything You Need To Know About Petrified Trees
Petrified wood is fossilized wood that forms in several ways. Fossilized wood is generally a preserved section of a tree trunk that becomes the home for minerals that replace most of, if not all, of the tree’s organic material (wood). While petrified wood can be comprised of different minerals aside from wood, petrified wood can maintain its shape and patterns as a past organic form.
It’s like an imprint! Fossilized wood can occur in other forms, including wood in submerged swamps or forests and mummified wood.
Things you need to know – Petrified wood differs from fossilized wood in how it forms.
Where Is The Largest Petrified Tree?
There was an entire ancient tree unearthed in a reserve forest at Ban Tak District, Tak Province, one of Thailand’s 77 provinces. What was thought to be a small section of a petrified tree grew until the total size was 237 feet. Searching through all available records, it seems that this tree is the largest, intact petrified tree on the planet.
For comparison, the tallest living trees in the world are the Giant Sequoias of Northern California and the Gum trees in Australia, which stand over 425 feet tall.
What Is The Longest Petrified Tree?
Again, the tree unearthed in the province of Thailand takes the cake for being the longest petrified tree, measuring over 200 feet in length.
How Old Is The Oldest Petrified Wood?
The “Petrified Forest National Park’s website states that the trees located in the Black Forest are about 211 million years old. Trees in Jasper, Blue, Crystal, and Rainbow Forests are even older, hitting somewhere around 218 million years old. And those are the deposit dates that don’t include their actual lifespan.
Some petrified wood that’s been located in the National Fossil Wood Park is home to 20 million-year-old fossilized wood. If we’re talking about the oldest, there’s an area in Brazil with some petrified wood samples that are as old as 280 million years old!
Largest Petrified Tree Stump In The World
The largest petrified tree stump in the world is the “Callixylon tree” and it’s located right here in the United States. If you’re in Oklahoma then head on over to East Central University to take a peek at this 250,000,000 year old petrified tree stump discovered by John Fitts in 1913.
How Does Petrified Wood Form?
Quite literally, petrified wood is wood that has been “stonified.” You could also say it’s mineralized wood just the same. When the natural fiber and structure that are usually emerging in trees get replaced with minerals like quartz or opal, the lack of oxygen slows the decay of the wood, minerals take over, and it creates petrified wood. The end result is a unique type of fossil.
How Does Petrified Wood Get its Colors?
Similar to many gemstones, the colors of petrified wood are created by the different elements or compounds within the minerals present. Iron oxides produce red, brown, and yellow coloration and hues. Trace amounts of manganese can have pinks and oranges. Blue and purple colors are usually caused by manganese dioxide, and shades of green are attributed to copper, iron, chromium, and cobalt.
It’s interesting that petrified wood from Arizona is known for having many colors within one specimen. These colors are caused by various oxidation states of iron.
How Old is Petrified Wood?
Most petrified wood on the planet can be between 50 to 500 million years old. While many samples of petrified wood are older than dinosaurs, it can form in as little as 5,000 to 10,000 years. That doesn’t seem like a small amount of time at all, does it?
Where is Petrified Wood Found?
Arizona, California, and various national parks throughout the United States are excellent places to find petrified wood. Petrified trees can be found worldwide, but the sites mentioned are the most notable.
Petrified wood is definitely hard to find, but it’s possible. While national parks in the United States contain excellent sources of petrified wood specimens, collecting pieces of nature or fossils from them is illegal. One of the best places to find and view petrified wood is the Petrified Forest National Park in northeastern Arizona. The park was once a dense lowland forest and a tropical climate with volcanoes nearby. When the volcanoes erupted, they spewed ash full of the elements and minerals that color the wood once it’s buried.
Some notable countries where fine specimens of petrified wood exist include; Australia, Brazil, Madagascar, China, Egypt, Indonesia, India, Canada, and the United Kingdom.