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Subject: Petrified wood

Petrified wood

From: Evangelia Kyriazi <evangelia_kyriazi>
Date: Monday, June 26, 2006
My name is Evangelia Kyriazi and I have recently started working for
the Natural History Museum of the Lesvos Petrified Forest in Greece.
I am looking for adhesives, consolidants and filling materials to
suit the needs of the petrified trunks.

The petrified forest is located on the hills of western Lesvos
island, around 15 kilometres from the sea and at an altitude of
around 250 metres. The temperatures range from below zero degrees
Celsius in wintertime to over sixty degrees celsius in the
summertime. The trees are exposed to the wind, snow, ice, rain, sun,
which cause their surface to flake off day by day. They all lean
against or stand upon the pyroclastic material (mainly volcanic ash
mixed with stones and other impurities), so they absorb moisture
from the ground, and the areas closer to the ground are the most
fragile. It seems that excavated trunks are much more prone to
damage than the ones which have been unearthed by natural ground
erosion. Many trunks and roots are broken but in most of the cases
there are some missing areas between the pieces. The adhesive/filler
must be able to support heavy weight and be elastic enough to
withstand the changes of the temperature.

The formation of the petrified forest is directly related to the
intense volcanic activity during late Oligocene - middle Miocene.
The volcanic eruptions during this time, produced lavas, pyroclastic
materials and volcanic ash, which covered the vegetation of the
area. The rapid covering of tree trunks, branches, and leaves led to
isolation from atmospheric conditions. Along with the volcanic
activity, hot solutions of silicon dioxide penetrated and
impregnated the volcanic materials that covered the tree trunks.
Thus the major fossilisation process started with a molecule by
molecule replacement of organic plant by inorganic materials. The
fossilisation was perfect due to favourable fossilisation
conditions. Therefore morphological characteristics of the tree
trunks such as the annual rings, barks, as well as the internal
structure of the wood can still be seen.

I would be more than grateful if you could provide me with any
ideas. Thank you in advance,

Evangelia Kyriazi
BA Hons Conservation and Restoration
Natural History Museum of the Sigri Petrified Forest
Sigri, Lesvos island, Greece

                  Conservation DistList Instance 20:2
                   Distributed: Monday, July 3, 2006
                        Message Id: cdl-20-2-017
Received on Monday, 26 June, 2006

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