What is Permineralization (fossilization process)

Permineralization is a fossilization process through which the cells of organisms are preserved that are found in the remains of bones, shells, vegetables or wood and that are deposited in the ground.

The permineralization process consists of cover pore spaces and cavities of fossil remains with minerals found in ground water, lakes and oceans. Among these minerals are sulfates, silicates, phosphates, carbonates, sulfides and iron oxide.

When this occurs, minerals form a crystallized mold on the porous walls of shells, bones or plants, which maintain the shape of, for example, a plant leaf, and preserve it over time. This process is called silicification and is part of permineralization.

In a similar way, it happens with the bones of dinosaurs, which, after the permineralization process, can preserve their cellular structure and help identify which species they belonged to.

If it is a piece of wood, many of its cells dissolve and are replaced by various minerals; However, there are cases in which it can be identified what type of tree it belonged to. This process is called petrification. The result is a piece of petrified wood of many colors due to the remains of the minerals.

See also Fossil.

Example of the permineralization process

The permineralization process is slow but has allowed scientists and researchers to obtain valuable information about how the Earth and living beings have evolved over time.

The permineralization process is explained step by step, using an example, below.

When an animal or plant dies, its remains remain on the surface of the soil or on the seabed. Bodies or plants decompose with the help of water and other living or chemical elements that are part of the decomposition. Only the bone remains remain if it is an animal. As the decomposition progresses, the bodies become hidden in the layers of earth and soil sediments. Once the remains are covered, permineralization develops. Time later It becomes a fossil. It is discovered to be analyzed and learn more about life on Earth.

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