The process and the result of the action of petrify are known as petrification. The verb petrify, for its part, refers to the transformation into stone or to hardening of a thing in such a way that it resembles a rock.
Precisely taking the sense of the second meaning, we would have to say that a case of petrification occurs within the world of graphic literature. And it is that in the comics sector, and forming part of the group of superheroes called The Fantastic 4, there is a character who has that particularity of becoming a rock.
We are referring to Ben Grimm. This is a former United States Air Force test pilot who, during a trip in a ship designed by a scientist friend, along with him and two other members, suffers an accident. Specifically, what happens is that they are subjected to a strong cosmic ray storm that will change their lives forever.
Thus, in the case of that character, what happens is that his appearance is completely modified: his skin turns orange and his appearance resembles that of a rock. All this without overlooking the fact that it acquires a supernatural force.
Organic substances can experience petrification when they spend a lot of time under the Earth. While the matter decomposes and rots, the spaces that remain are occupied by the dissolved minerals in water found in these geological layers. Thus, little by little, the body buried under these conditions can develop its petrification.
Petrification can be understood as a class of fossilization. This last notion is broader and refers to the conversion that is generated in all those organisms that, from a transformation of chemical characteristics, replace their organic components with other minerals.
The process begins with the death of an organism. The erosion it decomposes its soft components and the sediments cover it until it is buried. The WaterMeanwhile, it runs through the layers of soil, carrying minerals that pass through the remains of the organism in question. With the compaction of minerals, fossilization occurs and, if the replacement of organic components by minerals is absolute, petrification.
Precisely that meaning that concerns us also allows us to talk about what is known as the petrified forest. This is a paleontological site composed, as its name suggests, of tree fossils that long ago were the subject of a petrification process that took place mainly underground.
Examples of this type of forest can be found in many corners of the world such as Greece, Brazil, Australia, Ecuador, Canada, El Salvador or the United States. Without forgetting, of course, the famous petrified ones of Santa Cruz in Patagonia.
Beyond the science, there is a symbolic use of the concept of petrification, referring to what happens when a person is shocked by a news or an event and cannot react. For instance: “Observing that scene produced the petrification of the children”, “I was petrified to hear the news”.