Muscat: A tree trunk of petrified wood 260 million years old is on exhibit at Oman’s Natural History Museum, placed right in front of the main gate.
Petrified wood is the name given to a special type of fossilised remains of trees. The petrifaction process occurs underground, when wood becomes buried in water-saturated sediment or volcanic ash.
The petrified tree on display at Oman’s museum is an almost clear, solid and heavy stone that weighs about 4 tonnes whose hardness helped it survive, though its outer surface has been eroded by wind and rain. The examinations on this petrified tree also indicate that it belongs to the coniferous family.
The stump of wood, which looks like a stone structure was found among sand and gravel in the Al Huqf area in Oman, and its age is estimated at about 260 million years, said Hanan Al Nabhani, of National Museum, local media reported. The Huqf area is mentioned by Geological Society of Oman (GSO), as a special one for geologists because of the presence of rocks which tells one about all of Oman’s geological history.
The Huqf’s location near the eastern edge of the Arabian Plate has kept the area up-lifted through time. As per records, the oldest rocks in the area are dated using mineral isotopes at about 730 million years.
The pretrified rock is displayed at the Natural History Museum located in Al Khuwair’s Ministry District as a symbol of Oman’s history.
The exploration team discovered the trunk with only the upper part at the Al Huqf region. The studies conducted indicate that these trees grew on the banks of seasonal streams that meandered along the plains and fell into the silt and were preserved there. The tree remains to this day the largest discovery of such type made in Oman so far.