Instant petrified wood reported in BBC Online News, 25 Jan 2005 and news@nature 28 Jan 2005.

Petrified wood is commonly believed to have been formed when trees were buried in mud without oxygen and, they slowly absorb minerals from the mud which turns the wood to stone over the following millions of years.

A team of scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory are developing a method of making petrified wood in a few days. They have turned pieces of pine and poplar wood to stone by first soaking them in acid and then in a silica solution. They placed them in a furnace filled with argon (i.e. no oxygen) and heated them to 1,400 degrees Celsius. After two hours at this temperature they let them cool and the wood was as hard as stone. The hardness comes from the silicon which has combined with carbon in the cellulose of the wood to form silicon carbide, a ceramic. The news@nature article is entitled “Furnace Creates Instant Fossils”.


Editorial Comment: These experiments confirm that time does not petrify buried creatures or plants.

To clarify something that many find confusing, please note: fossils are buried things which have been preserved. They can be preserved or fossilised without being petrified, e.g. Mammoths in ice or the shape of a shell as a cavity only. Making fossils petrify or turn to stone, depends on physical and chemical process, i.e. what minerals and gases are present (or not), how much heat and pressure there is.

The conditions described above may seem unnatural in the world today, but during and after Noah’s flood there were cataclysmic upheavals, both when the fountains of the great deep broke open at the start of the flood, and after the flood as newly formed continents stabilised over the following centuries. (Genesis 7:11) Huge volcanoes would have buried masses of sediment deeply, so that anything contained in it, such as ripped up trees, would be buried in a hot, oxygen depleted environment which potentially could have resulted in preservation of carbon rich materials as well as petrification.

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