Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Petrified Wood In Egypt

Cairo January 2007

Petrified Wood in Egypt

By Dr. Mohamed El Gazzar

Omar Radi


In order to petrify wood, the wood must be exposed and covered by volcanic ash, and flow, in absence of Oxygen.

In general, "Petrified Wood" or "Silicified Wood" is a material formed by replacement of wood by Silica in absence of Oxygen, in such a manner that the original form and structure of the wood is preserved. The Silica is generally in the form of Opal/Chalcedony, Agate, and Jasper etc… "A.G.I.".

The varied colors of Fossil Wood are caused by the presence of other minerals that enter the wood with silica…

E.g. Iron Oxides stain the wood orange, Rust Red or Yellow, Manganese Oxides produce blue, black or purple etc…

It is imperative to mention that this article has not any technical or scientific basis, but it is published to illustrate the importance and beauty of "Fossil Wood".

Most Fossil woods discovered belong to "Oligocene age", when earth was exposed to tectonic movements and volcanic activities.

E.g. In Egypt large silicified logs ranging in diameter from 15cm to 2mt and in length from 4 to 33m occurring at random at the "Oligocene Gabal El Qatrani" formation in "Fayoum".

"Argentina" and "S. America" are considered to be one of the world's best petrified reserves, where "Patagonia" has many trees measuring more than 3m in diameter and 30m length.

"Canada" also has one of the largest petrified forests in the world. The petrified forest of "Lesbos", "Greece" covers an area over 150km2.

"USA", has the famous petrified wood site in "Arizona".

"Australia" has vast petrified and opalised wood.

"Noba Paka" of "Czech Republic" has the most famous locality "Aged Permian-Carboniferous".

"India", also has a large area of petrified wood.

"Egypt" has several localities east and west of the nile in addition to other localities such as "Wadi el Natroun", "El Fayoum", and "Farafra Oasis" etc…

Despite the fact, we did not have any data regarding age dating for fossil wood at different localities, we assume that fossil wood of Egypt is related to Oligocene time.


Working in the field of geology, it gives me more than practical knowledge and experience, it also shows us Earth's fantastic beauty and incredible variety of rocks. Despite our increasing dependency on machines and human-made structures, the love of nature remains a powerful force in the human psyche…

Upon returning home from a long journey, we often comment about how good it feels to be on familiar ground again. Yet for most of us this familiarity is at best skin dip we know the shape of the land surface, location of many hills, valleys, cliffs, streams, highways and towns.

But most of us know very little about what lies beneath these familiar features.

Is our house or town built on old lava flows, river deposits, glacial deposits, old lack, granite or "Fossil Wood Forest"…?

Each of these would mean a drastically story embracing the events the thousands, millions or even hundred millions of years that are recorded in the rocks at and beneath the surface…

Fossils were long ago recognized by many persons. Herodotus & Leonardo Da Vinci were very famous collectors. The most recognizable ones are the fossil woods as it covers and spread over vast areas, to reach more than 200 square km in some countries.

"Fossil Wood" is like any other fossils but the amazing part is how it was completely replaced by Silica while keeping the original shape and structure of the plant.

The growing interest in fossil wood collection turns this hobby into the commercial side where several shops were established mainly to sell natural fossil wood or artificially made.

Our target of this demonstration is to introduce to you a new hobby, as we believe that loving nature is as important as much as life. The following photos were selected to show you the beauty of this hobby…

Should you require any information about fossil wood, please don’t hesitate to contact us…