Mineralogy of Miocene Petrified Wood from central Washington state, USA

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Marco E. Ciriotti
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Mineralogy of Miocene Petrified Wood from central Washington state, USA

Messaggio da Marco E. Ciriotti » dom 23 gen, 2022 14:04

▪ Mustoe, G.E. & Dillhoff, T.A. (2022): Mineralogy of Miocene Petrified Wood from Central Washington State, USA. Minerals, 12, 131.

Silicified wood occurs abundantly in Middle Miocene flows and sedimentary interbeds of the Columbia River Basalt Group (CRBG) in central Washington State, USA. These fossil localities are well-dated based on radiometric ages determined for the host lava. Paleoenvironments include wood transported by lahars (Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park), fluvial and palludal environments (Saddle Mountain and Yakima Canyon fossil localities), and standing forests engulfed by advancing lava (Yakima Ridge fossil forest). At all of these localities, the mineralogy of fossil wood is diverse, with silica minerals that include opal-A, opal-CT, chalcedony, and macrocrystalline quartz. Some specimens are composed of only a single form of silica; more commonly, specimens contain multiple phases. Opal-A and Opal-CT often coexist. Some woods are mineralized only with chalcedony;however, chalcedony and macrocrystalline quartz are common as minor constituents in opal wood. In these specimens, crystalline silica filling fractures, rot pockets, and cell lumen may occur. These occurrences are evidence that silicification occurred as a sequential process, where changes in the geochemical environment or anatomical structures affected the precipitation of silica. Fossilization typically began with precipitation of amorphous silica within cell walls, leaving cell lumen and conductive vessels open. Diagenetic transformation of opal-A to opal-CT in fossil wood has long been a widely accepted hypothesis; however, in opaline CRBG specimens, the two silica polymorphs usually appear to have formed independently, e.g., woods in which cell walls are mineralized with opal-A but in which lumen contain opal-CT. Similarly, opal-CT has been inferred to sometimes transform to chalcedony; however, in CRBG, these mixed assemblages commonly resulted from multiple mineralization episodes.
Marco E. Ciriotti

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