Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Did you know that the largest piece of petrified wood ever seen or heard of by Carrie Jennings from the University of Minnesota Geological Society, is located in Holdingford?

The following statement was given to us by John Ebnet, Petryfikowane Drzewo
means Petrified Wood in German and Polish
Spellings furnished by John Bieniek, St. Hedwig's Parish


Many people have wondered since 1949, "'What is that rock on St. Mary's Church grounds?" it just sits there
and doesn't say anything. Lawn caretakers have been driving around it for over 50 years to mow the lawn. John Ebnet
found out where it came from, when it was brought io this location, and who brought it here with Herbert Vos' help.
John's grandfather, Rienhard Vos, was the original owner of the land. he homesteaded land of about 500 acres two
miles west and 1/2 mile south of Holdingford The farm land was later divided into two farms the George Vos farm and
the Tom Vos farm. The Zeis Brothers later bought the farm from Tom Vos. Mark Leukam now farms this land where
the rock was found, he is a St. Mary's parishioner.

The rock was found in a ravine on the southwestern edge of the land. It was brought to the area of the farm
buildings, then was brought to the present location on the St. Mary's Church grounds, by Dad Frank Ebnet, and Uncle
George Vos- They used a hand crank wrecker borrowed from Raymond "Whitey" Paggen, and a pickup from Paul
Mager Agency to get the rock to the present location Father Rosenthal was pastor at this time in 1949.
They knew the who and the where, but were not sure about what it was. John Ebnet called a Professor of
Geology at St. John's University, Dr- Larry, Davis, and asked him to look at the rock Professor Davis came on June 16,
2004, and verified that the rock was indeed a piece of Petrified Wood-

The following was provided by Dr. Davis about the piece of Petrified Wood:

. The large section of Petrified wood on display at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Holdingford MN, likely formed
during the last ice age more than 12,000 years ago. 99.99% of all living trees eventually decay, burn or are
eaten and leave no record of their existence. Bur if the conditions are right wood car be converted to stone
while still preserving the original structure and appearance of the wood- In order to be petrified wood must be
buried under anaerobic conditions (no air and bacteria) in silt mud, or volcanic ash, before it can be preserved-
Water with dissolved minerals, usually silica (the sane material which forms the famous Minnesota agates)
must slowly - "soak into the wood where the silica precipitates and fills the pore spaces of the wood in a process
geologists call per mineralization (This same process occurs as minerals precipitate from water in the shower
producing the scaly deposits on the shower stall. In many cases the original cellular structure of the wood can
be seen and used to identify the original wood as oak maple etc- In order to see this pattern in the St .Mary's
specimen a slab would have to be cut by a rock saw and then polished-
This specimen was likely buried in glacial muds near the leading edge of the great ice sheet that once covered the
northern 2/3's of Minnesota The ancient deposits of this period of glaciation can be seen throughout Stearms
County. In spite of the fact *rat less than Lo,6 of all living trees eventuaily undergo per mineralization, petrified
wood can be found in every state of the union. The most famous examples of petrified, wood can be seen in the
Petrified Forest National Park in north Arizona-

This petrified wood specimen is the largest that anyone at the Stearns County Historical Society-v has heard of in
the central Minnesota area. Also, Carrie Jennings of the University-v of Minnesota Geological Survey said this was the
largest piece of petrified wood that she has ever heard of or seen in Minnesota. She is anxious to see it for herself.
John went to the Mark Leukam farrn to see if there were any other specimens in the area where the original piece
of petrified wood was found. No other pieces of petrified wood were found, but a piece of Hematite, about the size of a
football was found This. piece of Hematite weighs about 50 pounds. According to Webster's Dictionary, hematite is an
important Iron Ore. The piece of Hematite is purple in color and is-about a billion years old According to Dr. Davis it
was brought here by the glaciers 12,000 years ago. He also said that it was from the Tower - Soudan area- The piece of
Hematite can be seen at the John Ebnet house if anyone is interested.

The large piece of Petrified Wood can be seen on the east side of the church property.

By the way, Professor Davis' usual consulting fee is $5,000, but he enjoyed his trip to Holdingford so much that
there wiil be no charge.

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