Petrified Wood

Petrified Wood

“The Soul of a former Tree” -Herb Zuhl

The bulk of the Zuhl Geological Collection is composed of petrified wood ranging in size from twigs and stems a few centimeters long to logs over a meter in diameter. The slices of petrified wood on display at the Zuhl Museum are from fossil trees that grew millions of years ago. Most of the slices have been polished to bring out, or enhance, the character of the tree – its original cell structure and growth rings. This fossil character enables scientists in many cases to identify the species and genus of the original tree – a tree that grew millions of years ago.

Petrified wood is created by precipiation of the mineral quartz from groundwater that flows through the wood after it is buried in sediment. Quartz replaces the wood, oftern preserving its fine cellular texture. The variety of colors of petrified wood results from impurities within the quartz crystals.

Perhaps the most famous is petrified wood from northern Arizona, extracted from the Chinle Formation of Late Triassic age (~220 million years ago).  Wood from the Chinle Formation represents conifer trees and is noted for vibrant red and yellow colors.

Petrified Pine Tree Slab

Zuhl Museum Petrified Pine Tree Slab


This petrified pine tree from northern Arizona is one of the largest specimens ever to be cut and polished.

Come witness this incredible specimen, on display at the Zuhl Museum.