Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Petrified Wood

I have always loved fossils and remember buying my first one--a fern--at the age of twelve. In the pebble driveway of my grade school, I used to find "Indian beads" that I now know are pieces of crinoid stem (I still have them!). My collection now includes a more complete crinoid specimen and other acquisitions as diverse as a cave bear tooth and bird footprints. A favorite subset of the collection is fossilized wood, so a trip through the Petrified Forest was a must when I was in Arizona in March 2008. Desolate views, but incredible fossils in situ. I had decided during the holidays in 2007 that my fossil collection lacked a "wood round," which I learned was the usual term for a polished slab of petrified wood, often retaining the bark layer on the edge and evidence of insects or other anomalies in the interior. Pictured here is the one I picked out as a Christmas gift. It's about 8" wide and 3/8" thick. It is one of the few fossils I have chosen without handling it first.

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