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Addresses of All Authors

Nayeon Lee: Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS 39762, USA

Sungkwang Mun: Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS 39762, USA

M.F. Horstemeyer: Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS 39762, USA

Stephen J. Horstemeyer: Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS 39762, USA

David J. Lang: Department of Plans and Soil Sciences, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS 39762, USA

Author's Biography

Dr. Nayeon Lee is a postdoctoral associate at Center for Advanced Vehicular System (CAVS) at Mississippi State University (MSU). She earned her PhD degree in Biological Engineering and M.S degree in Mechanical engineering at MSU.

Dr. Sungkwang Mun is a postdoctoral associate at Center for Advanced Vehicular System (CAVS) at Mississippi State University (MSU). He earned his PhD degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering at MSU.

Dr. Mark Horstemeyer is a professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Mississippi State University (MSU) where he holds a Chair position for the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems in Computational Solid Mechanics. He is also the chief technical officer over the manufacturing and design aspects of CAVS. He has published over 350 journal articles, conference papers, books, and technical reports with a citation H-factor of 31. He has won many awards including the R&D 100 Award, AFS Best Paper Award, Sandia Award for Excellence, the SAE Teetor Award and was a consultant for the Columbia Accident Investigation Board.

Stephen J. Horstemeyer is a Mechanical Laboratory and Model Shop manager/Mechanical Technologist for the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems (CAVS) at Mississippi State University for 14 years. Previously, he worked for Sandia National Laboratory in California for a 1-1/2 years and 21 years for Weirton Steel Corporation in West Virginia. In 1994, he graduated for Jefferson Technical College with an AS degree in Design/Drafting Technology. In the year 2005, he established the Materials/Mechanic Laboratory Facility at CAVS. During his free time, he hunts for fossils, paints signs, and teaches NPS Taekwondo at New Covenant Church.

Dr. David Lang is a Professor of Agronomy at Mississippi State University who specializes in forage and pasture crops including their establishment of reclaimed lignite mine land drastically disturbed to 100 meters into the sediments of the Mississippi Embayment. These contain eight layers of lignite containing petrified woods that become part of the reclaimed landscape. He has published nearly 200 papers in journal articles or conference proceedings. Dr. Lang has won national awards for his mine reclamation work and has been named as a national Merit Award from the American Forage and Grassland Council and he has been recognized as an outstanding researcher by the American Society of Mining and Reclamation.

Abstract

This study experimentally investigates pieces of fossilized wood that include both mummified and petrified portions within the same pieces collected from the Red Hills Lignite Mine in Mississippi, USA. To the authors’ knowledge, having petrified and mummified regions within the same piece of wood has not been previously reported. Our study analyzes the chemical compositions, microstructures, and nanohardness to characterize the fossilized wood. The chemical analysis revealed that the composition of the mummified regions included mainly carbon, oxygen, and small amount of minerals indicating these regions were similar to currently growing wood, and the petrified regions included silicon and oxygen indicating these regions were petrified–in the same piece of wood! This chemical analysis verified the mummified/petrified wood regions in multiple pieces of wood. Micrographs showed that the mummified regions retained well-preserved wood cell structures, and the petrified regions retained recognizable plant structures. Based on the wood cell structures, we confirmed that the wood originated from a species of conifer. Nano-indentation results showed the nanohardness of the petrified region to be 4.57 ± 3.11 GPa and the mummified region to be 0.71 ± 0.39 GPa. These hardness results also confirm that the petrified regions and mummified regions were clearly different materials as the silicate region is known to be much harder than the carbon regions. With respect to the environmental condition that enabled petrification and mummification within the same pieces of wood, this evidence suggests that a heavy flood buried wood that was then covered by sediment resulting in anoxic conditions within a short time. Water from heavy rain receded to make xeric conditions while some remained causing petrification.

Disciplines

Geochemistry | Paleontology

Keywords

Petrified wood, mummified wood, Mississippi embayment, Paleocene, Eocene

DOI

https://doi.org/10.15385/jpicc.2018.8.1.24

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