Petrified wood, also known as petrified tree (from Ancient Greek πέτρα meaning ‘rock’ or ‘stone’; literally ‘wood turned into stone’), is the name given to a special type of fossilized wood, the fossilized remains of terrestrial vegetation. Petrifaction is the result of a tree or tree-like plants having been replaced by stone via a mineralization process that often includes permineralization and replacement. The organic materials making up cell walls have been replicated with minerals (mostly silica in the form of opal, chalcedony, or quartz). In some instances, the original structure of the stem tissue may be partially retained. Unlike other plant fossils, which are typically impressions or compressions, petrified wood is a three-dimensional representation of the original organic material.
It generally takes a hundred years for wood to petrify, which must happen before it can decompose.