Red Petrified Wood

Petrified Wood is highly praised and appreciated for its wide range of colors and interesting texture. While many pieces of Petrified Wood are tan, they can also be in several other colors. The primary colors one might find include brown, gray, and red. On some rare occasions, a person might be fortunate enough to find Petrified wood with yellow, blue, and green hues that occur due to the presence of various mineral inclusions.

The brightest hues are obtained when metals like Copper, Cobalt, Chromium, Manganese, and Iron enter the Petrified Wood’s structure.

Depending on the oxidation state, copper can produce colors ranging from blue to green. The presence of Chromium and Cobalt can also turn the materials green or blue but with slightly different hues. Iron, in the form of oxides, naturally produces all shades of brown, ranging from light yellow to nearly black. Residuals of organic compounds provide some level of carbon, which is responsible for all shades of gray and black. Lastly, Manganese causes Petrified Wood to turn pink, red, or orange. At the same time, Manganese oxides trigger dark shades up to uniform black.

Petrified Wood doesn’t seem as drab and boring anymore, does it?


red petrified wood table


What Makes Petrified Wood Red?

The pink and red hues of Petrified Wood are caused by the presence of Hematite, which is a form of oxidized Iron. The intensity of the hues depends on the amount of Hematite present in the Petrified wood.

So, how does the process work? Let me fill you in.

Iron dissolves in the surrounding groundwater when no oxygen is present. The groundwater then becomes re-oxygenated as it flows through the tree trunks, which causes the oxygen to bond with the Iron. The Iron then precipitates and produces a solid form of Iron called Hematite. Hematite is naturally incorporated into the log’s cell walls.

Believe it or not, this is the same process that occurs that causes iron to stain porcelain sinks. The soluble Iron found in groundwater becomes oxidized into a solid form once it comes in contact with the air, which will result in a reddish stain.

Yellow, orange, and brown are also created by iron. These colors are produced by the presence of Goethite and Iron Oxide or Ferric Oxide. Goethite is a hydrated form of Iron oxide that’s derived by weathering from Iron-bearing minerals. It crystallizes into scales, tablets, radial, needles, and concentric aggregates.


red arizona petrified wood specimen


Is Red Petrified Wood Rare?

Red Petrified wood is not very rare but large pieces with intense color can bring a premium when it is used for furniture. This is partly because Iron is a common mineral or metal present in many locations, which means red Petrified wood is more easily found and readily available. Another reason this color of Petrified Wood isn’t rare is due to the fact that some Petrified Wood is already a red hue. Take redwood trees, for example; there is an entire forest of Petrified Redwood. However, not all redwood trees maintain their red color once they’ve been altered in the petrification process.


red petrified wood specimens


Can Petrified Wood Be Red?

Of course, Petrified Wood can be red but rarely is it a solid red. Most of the commercially available material will have a mottled color. Petrified wood comes in a wide variety of colors and shades. The colors are the result of different compounds or elements within the material and the surrounding environment. As mentioned above, if a piece of petrified wood is pink, red, or orange, it likely has small amounts of Iron and Manganese. However, a green piece of wood might contain Iron, Copper, Cobalt, or Chromium. The different elements and the amounts of them will change the shade and brightness of the colors produced.

While most Petrified Wood is a single color, Petrified wood from Arizona can be multicolored. The reason for this is due to the Iron being oxidized at different states, which is the primary coloring element for the Petrified Wood samples coming out of Arizona.


red petrified wood cabochon


What Is The Rarest Color of Petrified Wood?

Green is the rarest color of Petrified wood. Various rare specimens of green Petrified wood have been found, and they all contain the presence of chromium. Gold and blue are also considered rare colors as well but the color green is the most sought-after.

Most of the color in Petrified wood is caused by trace metals. Of these, Iron is the most common and produces a range of colors depending on its oxidation state.

If you’re on the hunt for some Petrified Wood specimens, you can check in or near water and along the beach. However, if you hope to find something more collectible or a piece to make jewelry with, I’d say Oregon, Arizona, and Texas are among the top three states to find some worthwhile beauties.


red petrified wood slabs

Jerred Morris
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2 Responses

  1. I really enjoy your articles on rockhounding.. I’ve been doing this since I was a kid and now I’m 47… I have a couple of questions about some stuff I have found here in Oregon… I can send some pics any info would be helpful thank you.

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