What geologic processes can destroy a fossil?


What geologic processes can destroy a fossil?

What are two ways that geologic processes can destroy a fossil? A fossil can be destroyed or altered when it is melted, crushed, moved or eroded.

How can fossils be destroyed?


  • Melting – Changing its appearance by converting its original physical form.
  • Colliding or pressurizing fossils: Physical way of destroying fossils.
  • Changing its natural conditions: Wear out the natural agents which makes it difficult to preserve.

Can fossils be destroyed by erosion?

Hard body parts, such as dense bones, teeth, and shells, are what most often are preserved. It is likely that the vast majority of fossils will never be found before they are destroyed by erosion.

Does metamorphism destroy fossils?

The heat of molten rock usually incinerates organisms rather than preserving them. Metamorphic rock is formed when existing rock is transformed under high heat and pressure, which generally destroys any fossils that were in the rock before it was metamorphosed.

What type of rock are fossils commonly found in?

sedimentary rocks
Fossils are typically found in sedimentary rocks and occasionally some fine-grained, low-grade metamorphic rocks.

Do rocks contain fossils?

Fossils, the preserved remains of animal and plant life, are mostly found embedded in sedimentary rocks. Of the sedimentary rocks, most fossils occur in shale, limestone and sandstone. With rare exceptions, metamorphic and igneous rocks undergo too much heat and pressure to preserve fossils.

Why are fossils like empty molds?

Permineralization, where minerals like silica fill the empty spaces of shells, is the most common form of fossilization. Molds form when shells or bones dissolve, leaving behind an empty depression; a cast is then formed when the depression is filled by sediment.

What materials can preserve fossils by preventing their decay?

Organisms often preserved by carbonization include fish, leaves and the woody tissues of plants. permineralization or petrifaction takes place in porous materials such as bones, plants and shells. The material is buried; later, groundwater percolates through its pore spaces.

Do fossils erode?

Weathering and erosion from wind, rain, ice, heat and rivers break rocks apart and wash the fragments away. David says, ‘It can take millions of years, but gradually fossils become exposed at the surface where we can find them.

What environments would most likely cause fossil formation?

Fossils are formed in different ways, but most are formed when a plant or animal dies in a watery environment and is buried in mud and silt. Soft tissues quickly decompose leaving the hard bones or shells behind. Over time sediment builds over the top and hardens into rock.

Does metamorphic rock contain fossils?

Metamorphic rock, such as marble, is formed by tremendous heat and pressure. Fossils are not usually found in either igneous or metamorphic rocks.

What are the different types of fossil remains?

Unaltered fossil remains are comprised of the original materials—and sometimes tissues—produced by an organism when it was alive. These materials have not changed into something else over geological time (i.e., they have not been altered). There are two kinds: unaltered mineralized remains and frozen remains.

How are fossils used to study the environment?

Once the fossils are freed from the rock, they can be studied and interpreted. In addition, the rock itself provides much useful information about the environment in which it and the fossils were formed. Fossils can be used to recognize rocks of the same or different ages. The fossils in this figure are the remains of microscopic algae.

How are fossils used to determine the ages of rocks?

The fossils present in a rock exposure or in a core hole can be used to determine the ages of rocks very precisely. Detailed studies of many rocks from many places reveal that some fossils have a short, well-known time of existence.

How are fossils preserved after an organism dies?

Fossil specimens exhibiting replacement do not preserve the original body parts produced by the organism when it was alive. Instead, a different, secondary material replaces the original material shortly following the death of the organism.

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