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Title: Permineralization  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Evolution of fungi, Two Medicine Formation, Calcium carbonate, Stingray, Fungus
Collection: Fossilization, Fossils, Geological Processes
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Permineralization is a process of

  1. ^ Mani, K. (1996). Permineralization Retrieved March 29, 2009, from Fossils: A window to the past. Web site:
  2. ^ Loren E. Babcock, "Permineralization", in AccessScience@McGraw-Hill, doi:10.1036/1097-8542.803250
  3. ^ Oehler, John H., & Schopf, J. William (1971). Artificial microfossils: Experimental studies of permineralization of blue-green algae in silica. Science. 174, 1229-1231.
  4. ^ Scott, Andrew C.; Rex, G. (1985). "The formation and significance of Carboniferous coal balls".  
  5. ^ Wacey, D. et al (2013) Nanoscale analysis of pyritized microfossils reveals differential heterotrophic consumption in the ∼1.9-Ga Gunflint chert PNAS 110 (20) 8020-8024 doi:10.1073/pnas.1221965110
  6. ^ Raiswell, R. (1997). A geochemical framework for the application of stable sulfur isotopes to fossil pyritization. Journal of the Geological Society 154, 343-356.


Examples of permineralization

Permineralized fossils preserve original cell structure, which can help scientists study an organism at the cellular level. These are three-dimensional fossils, which create permanent molds of internal structures. The mineralization process itself helps prevent tissue compaction, which distorts the actual size of organs. A permineralized fossil will also reveal much about the environment an organism lived in and the substances found in it since it preserves soft body parts. This helps researchers investigate the plants, animals, and microbes of different time periods.

Scientific implications

This method involves the elements Precambrian microfossils, marine arthropods and plants.[5][6]


Pyritized Lytoceras genus ammonite in Holzmaden Shale

Carbonate mineralization involves the formation of coal balls. Carboniferous Period (325 to 280 million years ago).[4]

A coal ball

Carbonate mineralization

In silicification, fossils that have been silicified are bacteria, algae, and other plant life. Silicification is the most common type of permineralization.[3]


Permineralization is a type of fossilization involving deposits of minerals within the cells of organisms. Water from the ground, lakes, or oceans seeps into the pores of organic tissue and forms a crystal cast with deposited minerals. Crystals begin to form in the porous cell walls. This process continues on the inner surface of the walls until the central cavity of the cell, the lumen, is completely filled. The cell walls themselves remain intact surrounding the crystals.[2]



  • Process 1
    • Silicification 1.1
    • Carbonate mineralization 1.2
    • Pyritization 1.3
  • Scientific implications 2
  • Examples of permineralization 3
  • References 4


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