Under conditions where buried wood is protected from microbial degradation and exposure to oxygen or harsh chemical environments, the tissues may remain unmineralized. If the original organic matter is present in relatively unaltered form, wood is considered to be mummified. Exposure to high temperatures, whether from wild fires or pyroclastic flows, may cause wood to be converted to charcoal. Coalification occurs when plant matter undergoes gradual metamorphosis, producing bituminous alteration products. Examples of all three types of non-mineralized wood are common in the geologic record. This report describes some of the most notable occurrences, reviews past research and introduces data from several localities in North America.
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