Physical Properties of Petrified Wood
Petrified wood (literally wood turned into stone), really is a form of fossilized vegetation: what were once tall, living, growing trees have been replaced over millenia with hard, microscopic minerals. However, as you can see in the photo, it's quite different from what we understand to be a fossil: it doesn't look like a plant impressed onto stone. Rather, it looks like a combination of a tree log and a rock, perfectly preserved and often boasting a range of beautiful colors.
This incredible transformation might sound magical, but it's 100% based in science. The organic matter from the dead tree gets slowly replaced with a variety of minerals (usually silicates, such as chalcedony or quartz - although, at times, rare gems such as opal go through this process, too). Interestingly, the tree's cell structure is retained, which creates the beautiful patters and mosaics commonly found in pieces of petrified wood.
Petrification needs very specific conditions to occur. It happens underground, when wood falls into water. The water must contain a significant concentration of volcanic ash or other types of sediment. The absence of oxygen in this environment then prevents any bacteria (or fungi) from decomposing the organic material. With time, the sediment present in the water saturates the wood, causing petrification.
Additionally, different elements can create color variations in the wood. For example, pure quartz inclusions are transparent, while silicon dioxide inclusions are either white or grey. Copper, chromium, and cobalt account for green and blue shades. Carbon and manganese oxides, on the other hand, cause dark and black stains, although manganese oxide can sometimes create yellow inclusions, too. The manganese itself tends to form pink or orange inclusions, while iron oxides create reddish and brown variations.
What makes petrified wood so beautiful isn’t only the kaleidoscope of colors – but also the patterns left by plant’s tissues, such as tree rings.
It might seem that the permanent mineralization of wood occurs seldom, but it isn’t the case. There are plenty of petrified forests on nearly all continents.
History and Lore of Petrified Wood
Petrified wood is used in biology, paleontology, climate studies, and archeology. Biologists use it to study the evolution of plants and to better understand their taxonomy. Paleontologists use it to support their theory of continental drift and the age of rocks. Meteorologists use it to understand the climates of the past and predict the weather trends in the future. Archeologists use it to determine the existence of specific cultures. For example, some weapons made of petrified wood were discovered in Anyar (Myanmar) and Sung Noen (Thailand). This led to the discovery of Anyathian and Sung Noen cultures, respectively.
In general, Thailand has a well-documented history surrounding petrified wood. In 1921, King Rama VI was presented with petrified wood when visiting the Mun River. The petrified wood was a gift from loyal citizens. The king was moved and asked to conserve the petrified wood. Interestingly, Thai petrified wood contains several other precious gems, such as agate, carnelian, jasper, or opal.
If you are interested in seeing natural petrified wood in the West, you can visit the Petrified Forest in Arizona, USA.
Metaphysical Properties of Petrified Wood
Because of its many mineral inclusions, petrified wood can have a variety of metaphysical properties. For this reason, we will focus on its general properties, without paying close attention to the meaning of particular inclusions.
Petrified wood is ruled by earth energies - which makes sense, knowing that it was created from what was once a living tree. It's great for connecting to nature and grounding. It can support your root and sacral chakras. If you feel worried about the safety of your home, or your financial situations, try keeping a piece of petrified wood nearby to soothe your fears, make logical choices, and ground your energy (of course, petrified wood is no substitute for appropriate financial advice, common-sense safety, and contacting appropriate law enforcement agencies, if you feel threatened). Petrified wood also helps bring back scattered energies; hence, it's perfect for writers and artists fighting the creative block and distractions that can come with creative projects.
Petrified wood is also related to time. When you are stuck or feel like things aren't genuinely moving forward despite you taking bold steps, it might help to work with petrified wood. You may also choose to wear a pendant, ring or bracelet made of petrified wood, to remind you that great things take time and that you're moving forward, even if it seems like the progress is slow. Additionally, petrified wood is said to be useful in connecting with your ancestors, as well as the wisdom of times that have passed.
Petrified wood is also said to be helpful with a variety of age-related diseases, such as Alzheimer's, arthritis, or osteoporosis (but, of course, is no substitute for seeing out qualified medical care and/or treatment). It's also said to be useful for those who are afraid of aging, and can help us understand that the older we get, the closer we get to our true selves.
The Zodiac signs which will benefit the most from petrified wood are Leo and Virgo.