The mystery object is PETRIFIED WOODfrom Arizona.
Petrified wood is aspecial type offossil. It has thetree’s originalshape andstructure, but theliving material hasbeen replaced byminerals andstone.
Our specimen beganforming millions ofyears ago when logswashed into anancient river or sea.The logs were buriedby great amounts ofsediment, but because there was verylittle oxygen, the logs did not decaynormally.
The log broke downvery slowly overhundreds of years.Minerals absorbedinto the wood. Theminerals replacedpieces of the woodas it decayed.
Our particular specimenis sometimes called“rainbow” petrifiedwood because of itsmany colors. It is madeof almost solid quartz.Quartz is usually clear,but when elements arein the water/mud duringthe petrification, othercolors are produced.
Here is a list of elementsand the colors they mayproduce in the petrifiedwood:• carbon - black• cobalt - green/blue• chromium - green/blue• copper - green/blue• iron oxides - red, brown, and yellow• manganese - pink/orange• manganese oxides - black/yellow
Petrified Forest National Park in thePainted Desert of Arizona contains oneof the world’s largest and most colorfulareas of petrified wood.