Petrified Wood in Mississippi

At the NMGMS November meeting, we were excited to have George Phillips, paleontologist with the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, as our guest speaker.

George gave an overview of some of the history about petrified wood found in Mississippi.  Petrified wood was designated as the state’s official rock in 1976.

Some of the things we learned from George’s presentation were:  petrified wood has been known to be found in the state since the 1850’s, petrified wood has been documented to be found in at least 67 of the 82 counties in Mississippi, Native American artifacts have been found that were made from petrified wood, the tree species that the piece of petrified wood originated from cannot readily be identified with the naked eye, except perhaps for palm, and petrified palm wood is not a true wood; palm is a grass(monocot). 

George went on to explain that most of the petrified wood is found in river and gravel deposits and is less than a few million years old.  The palm “wood” is of Miocene or Oligocene age.  George apologized that his slide show did not include certain topics like how wood actually becomes petrified, but he did go on to give us some explanations of the process.  Thank you, George for another great program.  Submitted by Nancy Roberts

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Photos submitted by Jim and Nancy Roberts.

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