The imprint of a leaf was also discovered within the basalt, which was also regarded as remarkable, remembering that the enclosing rock was once molten lava erupted at 1000–1200°C (about 1800–2200°F).
So how could these tree trunks have survived being engulfed by molten lava?
After digging through the thin surface sands and clays, followed by basalt, 21 metres (almost 69 feet) down they found pieces of wood entombed in the bottom basalt flow.
Those on-site at the time speculated that there had been two distinct trees, partly standing, still organic in nature, and thus not petrified.
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At approximately four metres (13 feet) thick, the basalt flow is relatively thin, Since the tree trunks were engulfed at the bottom of the flow, cooling may have been immediate, with any water present in the wood aiding extremely rapid encapsulation and thus preservation.
At top, is fossil wood in basalt that includes—from left to right—basalt, wood and siltstone.
This siltstone belongs to the Permian German Creek coal measures, conventionally believed to be around 255 million years old.