Ahh, the buddy Christ... Clerks 3 comes out this fall.
Opal is the one silicate that could form at low pressure and fairly short time frames. I would still expect it to need far deeper than a few inches of soil covering it however. It has to form below the water table so that oxygen is largely displaced and the wood doesn't decay within a few years of being buried. So while possible, the series circumstances necessary for this to be a petrified tool handle are very unlikely to have happened.Maybe.
It's just awfully funny how well the profile fits my hand....
That and I've seen many examples of tool handles having the same shaped ends..
Careful about taking it to a university. They might claim its a Native American artifact and confiscate it.Nice find! Take it to your local university and have them take a look at it.
Long ago plants came up with lignin, which is what makes wood woody. For a hundred million years or so nothing had evolved the enzymes needed to break lignin down and digest it, so dead wood just piled up. Today we call those piles coal. Most petrified wood is from this era. After fungi and bacteria came up with the required enzymes, most wood decayed and was recycled into the biosphere, leaving few fossils. Your specimen is probably from this pre-enzyme era. Duck Duck Go lignin and see how old it probably is. I recall 300 mya but I am probably wrong.
My reading suggests the emzyme hypothesis is correct. But I don't know. For animals, it certainly is the prevailing conditions. But we don't find beds of animal fossils 10 feet thick that cover square miles.Careful about taking it to a university. They might claim its a Native American artifact and confiscate it.
Your comment regarding lignin (e.g. nature's best cross-linked polymer) is interesting. However, I thought the extensive Permian and Cretaceous coal deposits refuted the hypothesis that coals formed due to a lack of wood-decaying organisms. Fungal and bacterial lignin degradation was alive and kicking back then. Thus, coal accumulation was likely a result of prevailing environmental conditions (e.g. tropical conditions and tectonics). It's a neat idea, but the logical foundation is flawed. One could claim we only see fossils of certain animals because bacteria and fungi hadn't evolved to degrade them, when more likely it was just environmental conditions.
Prevailing theories change as new information comes to light.My reading suggests the emzyme hypothesis is correct. But I don't know. But we don't find beds of animal fossils 10 feet thick that cover square miles.