How long does it take to petrify wood? Not long! Though there is a widespread idea that it takes millions of years to create fossils and petrify wood, examples of quick petrification and fossilization abound:

  • Mt. Tarawera’s eruption in New Zealand in 1886 covered two Maori villages.  With excavations have come many examples of petrified objects — hats, hams, bags of flour, and other things.  In fact, there are records of almost instant petrification prior to the eruption because of some of the natural wonders of the world located there — the white terraces.  These terraces of silica-coated steps had pools of varying temperatures, into which insects, trash, and other items purposefully or accidentally were plumaged, causing many a tourist to go home with petrified artifacts that had happened virtually under their eyes.  It’s the circumstances that cause petrification, not the time. Source: Answers in Genesis
  • Australia has several examples of quick petrification.  From the Waterwheel at Cape Leeuwin to fossil fence wire shown to be a brand popularly bought between 1920 to 1970, to family fenceposts being petrified in swampy land. Also, wood encased in basalt dates conflictingly with the rock around it! Source: Answers in Genesis.
  • Scientists have long been working on creating “instant” petrified wood.  These woods are extremely useful for weatherproofing, insect-proofing, and creating sturdier structures.
  • Polystrate trees (like those in the coal regions of Kentucky) show evidence of rapid deposition of fossils.  (This link also includes a picture of a miner’s hat, abandoned in a mine, and completely petrified — obviously done during recorded history.)
  • “From the other side of the world comes a report of the chapel of Santa Maria of Health (Santa Maria de Salute), built in 1630 in Venice, Italy, to celebrate the end of The Plague. Because Venice is built on watersaturated clay and sand, the chapel was constructed on 180,000 wooden pilings to reinforce the foundations. Even though the chapel is a massive stone block structure, it has remained firm since its construction. How have the wooden pilings lasted over 360 years? They have petrified! The chapel now rests on ‘stone’ pilings!” Source: Answers in Genesis
  • Petrified fence post from Washington state
  • Study finds naturally occurring petrification of wood pieces from 7 to 36 years.


Primer on the Fossil Record — what does the fossil record say about the date of the earth?

What about radiometric (Carbon 14) dating?  Radiometric dating supports the Biblical account of a young earth.  Please read the following article which explains how that is possible:


Where to go for more information: