Understanding the source and cause for the Petrification is a key conflict in Dr. Stone, particularly in the Age of Exploration Arc.
On the day of the Petrification, some time in June 2019, all humans around the world were mysteriously turned to stone. Earlier that morning, certain birds also turned to stone, many confusing them for lifelike statues. The Petrification appears to have spread across the planet extremely quickly, likely originating in South America, according to Senku. Notably, the Petrification did not affect those not currently on the Earth's surface, particularly those aboard the International Space Station.
Petrification takes the form of a blinding sphere of light. As the sphere envelops the body, it quickly turns to stone. The sphere passes through solid objects, and those not inside the sphere are not petrified.
The cause of the Petrification is unknown. One of Senku’s goals is to determine the origin of the Petrification.
The Treasure Island Tribe (specifically Kirisame) possesses an object that produces a scaled-down, localized version of the Petrification. The exact radius of this Petrification can be somewhat controlled, and is used to prevent inhabitants of Treasure Island from leaving.
- Creatures affected by the Petrification are physically turned to stone. This stone is as brittle as regular stone.
- However, their minds continue to persist. Some compared the experience to sleep paralysis.
- Most creatures quickly lose consciousness, but it is possible stay conscious with enough mental fortitude (as seen with Senku Ishigami and Taiju Oki).
As a result of the Petrification, the Earth also changed significantly:
- Vehicles in motion lost control and crashed.
- Flora and fauna were allowed to grow unimpeded.
- Without proper maintenance, buildings and other human structures eroded and collapsed.
- Natural disasters, such as flooding and volcanic eruptions, occurred without human interference.
Those afflicted by the Petrification can be depetrified ("revived") in two known methods: a combination of maintaining consciousness while being petrified and being in contact with nitric acid; and being given the Stone Formula. Senku and Taiju are the only known people to revive completely via the former method.
The speed of the depetrification via the Stone Formula depends on the weathering of the statue. Newly petrified statues will depetrify significantly faster than those that are older.
If a person's stone statue is broken, it cannot be depetrified. (Attempting to do so results in a corpse.) However, if a broken stone statue is reassembled perfectly, the Stone Formula will work.
Being revived from Petrification heals any injuries the person may have had previously, including broken bones and brain death. Cracks that may have formed in the statue via weathering will also heal, leaving black scars in their place. (Being petrified and depetrified a second time heals these scars.)
Pre-Petrification World humans that have been depetrified include:
- Senku (via maintaining consciousness and the Cave of Miracles)
- Taiju (via maintaining consciousness and the Cave of Miracles)
- Tsukasa (by Taiju)
- Yuzuriha (by Taiju)
- Gen Asagiri (by Tsukasa)
- Yo (by Tsukasa)
- Nikki (by Tsukasa)
- Minami (by Tsukasa)
- Hyoga (by Tsukasa)
- Homura (by Tsukasa)
- Ukyo (by Tsukasa)
- Ryusui (by Senku)
- Francois (by Senku)