The forests of ancient times still exist today, in the form of petrified forests. These remnants of ancient forests today contain scattered broken trunks of petrified wood lying in the open, or half buried. Petrified wood is a very interesting form of fossil, believed to be millions of years old, and is most often composed of the minerals of agate and quartz, although occasionally, you encounter calcified or opalized petrified wood, which is mainly composed of calcite or opal, respectively. The hardness of petrified wood correspondingly tallies with that of agate or quartz – 7 on the Mohs scale, or less for that of opal or calcite.
Petrified wood is remarkable for its resemblance to wood, at least on the surface. The bark and the texture are astonishingly similar to normal wood. How it became petrified is due to a long and gradual process of displacement and replacement by agate (or other minerals); the water seeping into the wood and depositing the minerals which slowly replaced the wood.
This process took many thousands, or hundreds of thousands of years, and all happened underground, as the ancient trees toppled and were buried under debris and soil. The lack of oxygen in these conditions created the right conditions for a slow “decay-and-replace” process to take place. Most petrified wood occurs in various shades of red, gray-blue, yellow, dull green, or white, corresponding with the many shades of agate.
Locations of petrified forests
The places where petrified wood can be found are scattered in select locations across the globe, in places where conditions have permitted preservation to occur. Some of the locations where they are found include Petrified National Forest in Arizona, Alberta, Canada, Australia, and the Greek Island of Lesvos. The largest petrified specimens however, are found in the Petrified Forest National Monument in Argentina. These “forests” are not real forests, but can be likened to scattered and broken up “stone forests.” Walking through them gives an unique experience of being transported back in time, back to the days of marauding dinosaurs.
Many of the trees that became petrified belong to the Aracauria family, or otherwise known as Kauri trees. The Kauri trees are large coniferous trees often standing 40-50 meters in height, and today, you can spot large specimens still living in the forests of New Zealand and New Guinea.
The energy of petrified wood
As most petrified wood consists of variants of quartz (silica), we will focus on this form of petrified wood here. Petrified wood is a fossil like dinosaur bone, and shares the many of the same characteristics of fossils. It is perfect as a grounding stone, and used during meditation, it can help with accessing past lives. The energy of petrified wood is absorptive and warm, and protective, just like the large trees, which they once were.
Petrified wood is a stone of change and transformation, just as the wood which it once was, transformed into stone in a process of evolution. It helps in soothing the mind, and absorbing negativity. But you shouldn’t cleanse it with salt water, as the salt water tends to corrode away the former wooden cellular structures within. It is better to cleanse petrified wood (and fossils in general), by placing them within a crystal cluster. Petrified wood pieces can be worn as jewelry (for example, as bracelets), but they do need cleansing from time to time.
Petrified wood is good for the health of the skeletal structure, and the bones. It also helps in the absorption of calcium in the body. It provides for strength and physical endurance, and elixirs made from petrified wood are said to be good for the skin, and hair.
A note: Just remember that you should only obtain this unique fossil from authorized dealers selling them, as many a petrified forest has suffered from much pilfering. Please leave these magnificent forests the way they are, for future generations to enjoy, and ponder on.
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