Blue Forest Fossil Wood Rough A.jpg
Blue Forest Fossil Wood
SITE LOCATION: Blue Forest, Eden Valley, Sweetwater Co., Wyoming, USA
TIME PERIOD: Eocene (~ 50 million years ago)
Petrified wood (from the Greek root petro meaning "rock" or "stone"; literally "wood turned into stone") is the name given to a special type of fossilized remains of terrestrial vegetation. It is the result of a tree or tree-like plants having completely transitioned to stone by the process of permineralization. All the organic materials have been replaced with minerals (mostly a silicate, such as quartz), while retaining the original structure of the stem tissue. Unlike other types of fossils which are typically impressions or compressions, petrified wood is a three-dimensional representation of the original organic material. The petrifaction process occurs underground, when wood becomes buried under sediment or volcanic ash and is initially preserved due to a lack of oxygen which inhibits aerobic decomposition. Mineral-laden water flowing through the covering material deposits minerals in the plant's cells; as the plant's lignin and cellulose decay, a stone mold forms in its place. The organic matter needs to become petrified before it decomposes completely. The Blue Forest digs have been producing fossil wood for many generations and the locality still continues to give up its treasures. It is located in the west end of Eden Valley approximately 30 miles west of Farson. The fossil wood found in this area is well known for the light blue chalcedony that can be associated with many of the specimens. This chalcedony is frequently found enveloping the fossil wood with botryoidal layers making for very attractive specimens. Those that know say that there is still tremendous collecting potential in the Eden Valley of Wyoming and the Blue Forest digs -- and if a collector spends enough time and energy exploring these deposits his efforts will surely pay off with great finds.