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How to Identify Fossil (Petrified) Wood - Page 2 of 5
By Ed Strauss, Washington (photos and content)

Hopefully you will see something like this:

Figure 1
Fossil wood magnified

Figure 2
Fossil wood magnified

These two specimens represent conifers or gymnosperms. Fir, pine, redwood, spruce and cedar are common names of trees that fit this category. The second specimen (figure 2) shows about 4 seasonal growth rings; the first specimen (figure 1) has just over one ring. These micro photographs were taken at 40x magnification so what you will actually see through your hand lens will be smaller or a miniature of these pictures. These pictures appear to have vertical rows of circles. These circles are individual cells called tracheids. Tracheids are like tiny straws that run vertically up and down the tree. They carry water and nutrients from the roots to the needles and other growing parts of the tree. Remember that you are looking down at the stump (end grain) so this view shows the tracheids in a view that is the same as looking at the end of a straw; which would appear as a circle. Notice how the tracheids are uniform, all lined up in neat little rows, looking organized. The first specimen (figure 1) has three larger holes in it. These are called resin ducts. Regular resign ducts only occur in certain members of the Pine family.

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