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Mineralogy of Paleocene Petrified Wood from Cherokee Ranch Fossil Forest, Central Colorado, USA

1
Geology Department, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225, USA
2
Poudre School District, Ft. Collins, CO 80526, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Jesus Martinez-Frias
Geosciences 2017, 7(2), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences7020023
Received: 3 February 2017 / Revised: 19 March 2017 / Accepted: 6 April 2017 / Published: 10 April 2017
An extensive fossil forest discovered in 2010 on private property in central Colorado, USA, has not previously been described in scientific literature. Horizontal partial logs originated as fluvially transported driftwood. A preliminary study of petrified wood specimens reveals evidence of a complex mineralization sequence that involved multiple episodes of mineral deposition, combined with diagenetic transformation of silica minerals. Specimens from two logs have opalized cell walls. However, minerals filling the cell interiors of these specimens vary. Vessel lumina are filled with chalcedony or crystalline quartz; tracheid lumina may contain opal or chalcedony. Specimens from 5 other logs contain quartz/chalcedony, but relict textures suggest cell walls were originally mineralized with opal that was later converted to microcrystalline silica. Pyrite, calcite, and iron oxides were observed as minor constituents in some specimens, providing additional evidence that fossilization occurred in multiple stages, with temporal and spatial variations in physical and chemical conditions causing episodic precipitation of various minerals within the buried wood. Trace element analyses suggest that Fe is the main source of fossil wood color. View Full-Text
Keywords: chalcedony; Cherokee Ranch; Colorado; Denver Basin; opal-A; opal-CT; petrified wood chalcedony; Cherokee Ranch; Colorado; Denver Basin; opal-A; opal-CT; petrified wood
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Mustoe, G.E.; Viney, M. Mineralogy of Paleocene Petrified Wood from Cherokee Ranch Fossil Forest, Central Colorado, USA. Geosciences 2017, 7, 23.

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