I was curious about this. I heard that petrified forests take millions of years, but when Mount St Helen erupted supposedly there were trees that were petrified very, very, quickly. Any information on this? Were scientists just plain wrong on their original thoughts of petrified forests taking millions of years, or is there another explanation? I know some creationist will claim they have fossils from like a couple hundred years ago which shows fossils don't take long at all to form when in fact it was just an object that was sitting in hard water and therefore is not truly a fossil. I was wondering if their claims of the petrified forest might be along the same lines.

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I can't find anything not from creationist websites, so I'm going to take a guess. The eruption of Mt. Saint Helens was extremely violent and the explosion embedded stone into many trees. That would not be petrification, but might be mistaken for it by peope anxious to prove Genesis. I note that many of the cretionist sites make an instant leap from the claimed petrification to a world wide Noachic flood. That is a tipoff that careful investigation is not what's going on here.

This is a religious site, but critical of the claims:

http://www.oldearth.org/rebuttal/icr/drjohn/drjohn_154.htm

According to this (I know wikipedia has its flaws), it only takes 100 years to create petrified wood.  The process involves replacement of the organic tissues by minerals.  

In a separate part of the reference, it states less than 1,000 years....  maybe someone lost a zero.  Neither is referenced, which is a problem.

It also states "Artificial petrified wood has been produced in a Washington laboratory. In the process small cubes of pine are soaked in an acid bath for two days, then in a silica solution for another two. The product is then cooked at 1400 °C in an argon atmosphere for two hours. The result was silicon carbide ceramic which preserved the intricate cell structure of the wood."

Regardless of how long it takes under the usual conditions, once petrified, the former wood structure is now stone.  Buried in sediment, or in volcanic ash, then I imagine it could last for millions of years.

None of that refutes geology or supports creationism.

Here is some more about it.

I suspect that if you searched further, you could find more information about petrified wood.  Regardless of whether it takes 100 years or 1000 years, the resultant material can be buried for 100s of millions of years.

Yeah, I looked all over and couldn't find much. I was just curious because I heard a creationist trying to discredit scientists by saying that they said it takes millions of years to petrify wood and that they were wrong because when Mt Saint Helen erupted it caused trees to petrify very quickly and therefore the scientists were wrong. I was just wondering if there is any truth to this or just another annoying creationist talking out of their ass.

Yeah, that's interesting. It's hard to say what the person I heard was talking about. Creationists spin up so much crap.

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