Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Petrified Paper ... Adapted from Rocks & Minerals #23

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Petrified Paper ... Adapted from Rocks & Minerals #23

Article excerpt

by TOPS Learning Systems

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

1. Mix a level tablespoon of Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) with 2 tablespoons water on a plate.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

2. Fold a paper towel into quarters and roll it into a "log." Lay it in your mineral water "swamp" to evaporate until dry.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

3. Wood petrifies (turns to stone) as dissolved minerals in water slowly replace wood fiber. How might your log model this process? How might it be different?

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

4. Wait several days until your log is completely dry.

a. Evaluate your prediction.

b. Does your petrified log burn?

OBJECTIVE

To model how dissolved minerals petrify wood.

LAB NOTES

Photocopy the activity above for each student or lab group.

Step 1. More than a level tablespoon will create problems. A mineral crust will form and slow the drying of the "log" from a matter of days to possibly weeks.

EXTENSION

Grow stalactites and stalagmites! Use a strip of paper towel to wick a solution of Epsom salts through a gap of about 1 cm from a smaller plate resting on a larger one. The solution will first flood and crystallize on the bottom plate, but as the drip slows, first a stalactite forms on the end of the towel, then a stalagmite where the drips lands. …

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