Babcock, Loren E. Department of Geological Sciences, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.
Last reviewed:December 2019
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A fossilization, or taphonomic, process characterized by the deposition of a mineral or mineraloid (an amorphous “gel mineral”) in the pore spaces of an organism's body structures. Pores in bone, shell, or plant material may be impregnated by minerals or mineraloids precipitated from groundwater, lake or stream water, or ocean water. Minerals commonly involved in permineralization are quartz, calcite, pyrite, siderite (iron carbonate) and apatite (calcium phosphate). Opal, a mineraloid, is also a common agent of permineralization. Normally, the structural parts of organisms undergo little, if any, shape change as the pores are filled, leading in many examples to exquisite preservation of the fine structural details of bodily remains (see illustration). See also: Fossil; Taphonomy
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