DIRK WIERSMA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DIRK WIERSMA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Seen here is a large cut and polished slab of fossilized wood from the renowned Petrified Forest Park in Arizona, USA. The petrification of trees in this area took place on account of repeated volcanic activity in this area during the Late Triassic times, some 220 million year ago. The rapid burial of the wood under volcanic ashes ensured its preservation and the subsequent conversion of the wood into siliceous rock. This specimen is of Araucarioxylon arizonicum, a now extinct huge conifer that has been declared the official state fossil of Arizona. Actual diameter is 95 cm.
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