Advertisement

Application of Tree-Ring Analysis to Paleoseismology

  • Gordon C. Jacoby
Chapter
Part of the Advances in Global Change Research book series (AGLO, volume 41)

Abstract

Knowledge of the seismicity for a region is one of the keys to estimating earthquake hazards. Unfortunately, historical records are generally inadequate for evaluations of seismicity. Paleoseismology addresses this problem using various techniques for determining the times and locations of earthquake disturbances. Trees, with widespread geographical distribution, identifiable annual-growth increments, and sensitivity to environmental changes, can provide an almost unique tool for dating past earthquake events. Geomorphic and hydrologic changes and dynamic stress resulting from earthquakes can cause a variety of effects in trees and communities of trees. Tree-ring analysis can (1) produce the actual year and sometimes the season for disturbance events and (2) establish synchronicity for events that may be beyond the range of absolute calendar dating. Tree-ring dating or dendrochronology is used to establish exact dates based on patterns of annual-ring variations through time. Mere counting of rings is inadequate and may lead to errors in assigning dates to rings because of possible missing, micro, or false rings. Trees ranging in age from 300–500 years grow in many places and can be used to identify previously unknown seismic events or to better define events that are partially known. Longer time spans can be covered in some instances. Earthquakes may be more precisely located in space and time or have their magnitudes and displacements better estimated by analysis of tree rings. A number of studies have established the validity of tree-ring application to paleoseismology but only a few studies have contributed new information to the paleoseismic record. A review of the application of tree-ring analysis to paleoseismology is in Jacoby (1997). The science should now move from the discovery phase to a wider application phase. Successful applications will add important information to the records of seismicity and the evaluation of earthquake hazards.

Keywords

Tree Ring Surface Rupture Tension Wood Tsunami Deposit Reaction Wood 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. Adams J (1981) Earthquake-dammed lakes in New Zealand. Geology 9:215–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alestalo J (1971) Dendrochronological interpretation of geomorphic processes, Fennia 105, Helsinki, 1–140Google Scholar
  3. Atwater BF, Stuiver M, Yamaguchi DK (1991) Radiocarbon test of earthquake magnitude at the Cascadia subduction zone. Nature 353:156–158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Atwater BF, Yamaguchi DK (1991) Sudden, probably coseismic submergence of Holocene trees and grass in coastal Washington State. Geology 19:706–709CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Atwater BF, Moore AL (1992) A tsunami about 1000 years ago in Puget Sound, Washington. Science 258:1614–1617CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Atwater BF, Nelson AR, Clague JJ, Carver GA, Yamaguchi DK, Bobrowsky PT, Bourgeois J, Darienzo ME, Grant WC, Hemphill-Haley E, Kelsey HM, Jacoby GC, Nishenko SP, Palmer SP, Peterson CD, Reinhart MA (1995) Summary of coastal geologic evidence for past great earthquakes at the Cascadia subduction zone. Earthquake Spectra 11(1):1–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Atwater BF, Tuttle MP, Schweig ES, Rubin CM, Yamaguchi DK, Hemphill-Haley E (2003) Earthquake recurrence inferred from Paleoseismology. Devel Quat Sci 1:331–350CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Beavan J, Bilham R, Mori J, Wesnousky S, Winslow M (1979) Tree rings reveal Gulf of Alaska earthquakes in 1300, 1390, 1560 and 1899, (abstr). Eos, Transactions of the American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting Supplement 60, 46: 884–85Google Scholar
  9. Benson BE, Grimm KA, Clague JJ (1997) Tsunami deposits beneath tidal marshes on northwestern Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Quat Res 48:192–204CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bucknam RC (1994) Puget Sound seismicity, NEHRP Summ Tech Rep XXXV, 260-62, USGS Open File Report 94-176Google Scholar
  11. Bucknam RC, Hemphill-Haley E, Leopold EB (1992) Abrupt uplift within the past 1700 years at southern Puget Sound, Washington. Science 258:1611–1614CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Burns RM, Honkala BH (1990) Silvics of North America, Conifers. Agriculture Handbook 654, USFS, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  13. Carver GA, Stuiver M and Atwater BF (1992) Radiocarbon ages of earthquake-killed trees at Humboldt Bay, California (abstr). Eos, Transactions of the American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting Supplement 73: 398Google Scholar
  14. Coffman JL, von Hake CA (eds) (1973) Earthquake history of the United States. US Department of Commerce NOAA, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
  15. Crone AJ, Omdahl EM (1987) Directions in paleoseismology, US Geol Surv Open-File Report 87-673, 456 pGoogle Scholar
  16. Fuller ML (1912) The New Madrid earthquake. US Geol Surv Bull 494, 119 pGoogle Scholar
  17. Fumal TE, Pezzopane SK, Weldon RJ, Schwartz DP (1993) A 100-year average recurrence interval for the San Andreas Fault at Wrightwood, California. Science 259:199–203CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gill CJ (1970) The flooding tolerance of woody species-a review. Forest Abstr 31:671–687Google Scholar
  19. Gordon JC, Larson PR (1968) Seasonal course of photosynthesis, respiration, and distribution of 14C in young Pinus resinosa trees as related to wood formation. Plant Physiol 43:1617–1624CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gu Gongxu (1983) Catalog of Chinese earthquakes. Science Press, Beijing, China, 872 p. (translated 1989, Science Press, Beijing.)Google Scholar
  21. Jacoby GC (1987) Potentials and limits for dating prehistoric earthquakes using tree-ring analysis. In: Crone AJ, EM Omdahl (eds) Directions in Paleoseismology, pp 18–22. US Geol Surv Open-File Rep 87-673, 456 pGoogle Scholar
  22. Jacoby GC (1997) Application of tree ring analysis to paleoseismology. Rev Geophys 35:109–124CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Jacoby GC, Bunker DE, Benson BE (1997) Tree-ring evidence for an A.D. 1700 Cascadia earthquake in Washington and northern Oregon. Geology 25:999–1002CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Jacoby GC, Carver G, Wagner WS (1995) Trees and herbs killed by an earthquake 300 yr ago at Humboldt Bay, California. Geology 23:77–80CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Jacoby GC, Sheppard PR, Sieh KE (1988) Irregular recurrence of large earthquakes along the San Andreas fault: evidence from trees. Science 241:196–199CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Jacoby GC, Ulan LD (1983) Tree-ring evidence for uplift at Icy Cape, Alaska, related to 1899 earthquakes. J Geophys Res 88:9305–9313CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Jacoby GC, Williams PL (1994) Landslides in Lake Washington, Seattle; Coincidence intra-lake and correlation with regional seismic events In: NEHRP Summary of Technical Report XXXV, US Geol Surv Open-File 94-176, pp 387–388Google Scholar
  28. Jacoby GC, Williams PL, Buckley BM (1992) Tree-ring correlation between prehistoric landslides and abrupt tectonic events in Seattle, Washington. Science 258:1621–1623CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Jepson WL (1923) The trees of California, 2nd edn. University of California, Berkeley, CaliforniaGoogle Scholar
  30. Kaiser KF, Kaiser-Bernhard C (1987) The Katmai eruption of 1912 and the Alaska earthquake of 1964 as reflected in the annual rings of sitka spruces on Kodiak Island. Dendrochronologia 5:111–125Google Scholar
  31. Kozlowski TT (1971) Growth and Development of Trees. II Cambial Growth, Root Growth, and Reproductive Growth. Academic Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  32. Kramer PJ, Kozlowski TT (1979) Physiology of Woody Plants. Academic Press, New York, 811 pGoogle Scholar
  33. Louderback GD (1947) Central California earthquakes of the 1830’s. Seismol Soc Am Bull 37:33–74Google Scholar
  34. Lawson AC (1908) The California Earthquake of April 18, 1906, Report of the State Earthquake Investigation Commission, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Washington DC Publication 87(1)Google Scholar
  35. Lee WHK, Meyers H, Shimazaki K (eds) (1988) Historical seismograms and earthquakes of the World. Academic Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  36. Levitt J (1980) Response of plants to environmental stresses, II Water, radiation, salt, and other stresses. 2nd ed., Academic Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  37. Lin A (1998) Tree damage and surface displacement: The 1931 M 8.9 Fuyun Earthquake. J Geol 106(6):751–758CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Low AJ (1964) Compression wood in conifers: a review of the literature, Parts I and II, Forestry Abstracts 25:xxxv-liGoogle Scholar
  39. Lyell C (1849) A second visit to the United States of America, II John Murray, LondonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. McGee WJ (1892) A fossil earthquake. Geol Soc Am Bull 4:411–414Google Scholar
  41. Meisling KE and Sieh KE (1980) Disturbance of trees by the 1857 Fort Tejon earthquake. J Geophys Res 85, B6: 3225–3238CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Panshin AJ, de Zeeuw C (1970) Textbook of wood technology. McGraw-Hill, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  43. Plafker G (1969) Tectonics of the March 27, 1964, Alaska earthquake US Geol Surv Prof Paper 543-I: 47 pGoogle Scholar
  44. Prentice CS, Schwartz DP and Yeats RS (Eds) (1994) Proceedings of the Workshop on Paleoseismology. US Geol Surv Open-File Rep 94-568Google Scholar
  45. Sanderson PL, Armstrong W (1978) Soil waterlogging, root rot and conifer windthrow: oxygen deficiency or phytotoxicity? Plant Soil 49:185–190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Satake KK, Shimazaki K, Tsuji Y, Ueda K (1996) Time and size of a giant earthquake in Cascadia inferred from Japanese tsunami records of January 1700. Nature 379:246–249CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Scurfield G (1973) Reaction wood: its structure and function. Science 79:647–655CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Sheppard PR, Jacoby GC (1989) Application of tree-ring analysis to paleoseismology: two case studies. Geology 17:226–229CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Shroder JF Jr (1980) Dendrogeomorphology: review and new techniques of tree-ring dating. Prog Phys Geogr 4(2):161–188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Sieh KE, Stuiver M, Brillinger D (1989) A more precise chronology of earthquakes produced by the San Andreas Fault in Southern California. J Geophys Res 94:603–623CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Stuiver M, Reimer PJ, Bard B, Beck JW, Burr GS, Hughen KA, Kromer J, McCormac G, van der Plicht J, Spurk M (1998) INTERCAL98 Radiocarbon age calibration, 24, 000–0 cal BP. Radiocarbon 40(3):1041–1083Google Scholar
  52. Timell TE (1986) Compression Wood in Gymnosperms. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  53. Tonglin Han (unknown) Applications of tree rings in the study of active tectonics in Tibet: introduction of dating active tectonics using tree ring methods, (in Chinese, translated by Jishu Deng, Lamont-Doherty Earth Obs., Palisades NY, 1995)Google Scholar
  54. Tonglin Han (1983) The dendrochronological method-a new method for determining the ages of seismic deformational belts in Damxung of Xizang (Tibet). Bulletin of the Chinese Academic Geological Sciences 95-104 (in Chinese) (translated by Yantao Shi. Lamont-Doherty Earth Obs., Palisades, NY 1996)Google Scholar
  55. Van Arsdale R (1998) Earthquake signals in tree-ring data from the New Madrid seismic zone. Geology 26:515–518CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Veblen TT, Kitzberger T, Lara A (1992) Disturbance and forest dynamics along a transect from Andean rain forest to Patagonian shrubland. J Veg Sci 3:507–520CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Wells DR, Coppersmith KJ (1994) New empirical relationships among magnitude, rupture length, rupture width, rupture area, and surface displacement. Bull Seismol Soc Am 84:974–1002Google Scholar
  58. Wood HO, Neumann F (1931) Modified Mercalli intensity scale of 1931. Bull Seismol Soc Am 21:277–283Google Scholar
  59. Yamaguchi DK (1991) Tree-ring record of the 1964 great Alaska earthquake: implications for Cascadia paleoearthquake studies (abstr). Eos, Transactions of the American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting Supplement 72: 313Google Scholar
  60. Yamaguchi DK, Woodhouse CA and Reid MS (1989) Tree-ring evidence for synchronous rapid submergence of the southwestern Washington coast 300 years B.P. (abstr). Eos, Transactions of the American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting Supplement 70: 1332Google Scholar
  61. Yamaguchi DK, Atwater BF, Bunker DE, Benson BE and Reid MS (1997) Tree-ring dating the 1700 Cascadia earthquake. Nature 389:922–923Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tree-Ring Laboratory, Lamont-Doherty Earth ObservatoryColumbia UniversityPalisadesUSA

Personalised recommendations