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Deciphering Silicification Pathways of Fossil Forests: Case Studies from the Late Paleozoic of Central Europe

Museum of Natural History Chemnitz, Moritzstraße 20, D-09111 Chemnitz, Germany
Institute of Geology, TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Bernhard-von-Cotta-Straße 2, D-09599 Freiberg, Germany
Institute of Mineralogy, TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Brennhausgasse 14, D-09599 Freiberg, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Minerals 2018, 8(10), 432;
Received: 5 July 2018 / Revised: 24 September 2018 / Accepted: 26 September 2018 / Published: 1 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineralogy of Quartz and Silica Minerals)
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The occurrence and formation of silicified wood from five late Paleozoic basins in Central Europe was investigated. Fossil wood from diverse geological settings was studied using field observations, taphonomic determinations as well as mineralogical analyses (polarizing microscopy, cathodoluminescence (CL) microscopy and spectroscopy). The results indicate that silicification is either a monophase or multiphase process under varying physico-chemical conditions. In particular, CL studies revealed complex processes of silica accumulation and crystallization. The CL characteristics of quartz phases in silicified wood can mostly be related to blue (390 and 440 nm), yellow (580 nm), and red (650 nm) emission bands, which may appear in different combinations and varying intensity ratios. Yellow CL is typical for initial silicification, reflecting quick precipitation under oxygen-deficient conditions caused by initial decay of the organic material. Blue CL is predominantly of secondary origin, resulting from replacement of precursor phases by a secondary hydrothermal quartz generation or subsequent silicification of wood. The red CL can be related to a lattice defect (non-bridging oxygen hole center—NBOHC). View Full-Text
Keywords: petrified wood; petrifaction; cathodoluminescence; quartz; environment petrified wood; petrifaction; cathodoluminescence; quartz; environment

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Trümper, S.; Rößler, R.; Götze, J. Deciphering Silicification Pathways of Fossil Forests: Case Studies from the Late Paleozoic of Central Europe. Minerals 2018, 8, 432.

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