Tree-Ring Dated Landslide Movements and Seismic Events in Southwestern Montana, USA

  • Paul E. CarraraEmail author
  • J. Michael O’Neill
Part of the Advances in Global Change Research book series (AGLO, volume 41)


Because many tree species can live for several centuries or longer (Brown 1996), tree-ring analysis can be a valuable tool to date geomorphic events such as landslides, earthquakes, and avalanches in regions lacking long historical records. Typically, a catastrophic landslide will destroy all trees on the landslide, but trees on slower moving landslides may survive. For example, the Slumgullion earthflow, in southwestern Colorado, moves 0.5–5.5 m annually, yet is covered by aspen (Populus tremuloides) and conifers (Baum and Fleming 1996). Trees that survive such movements undoubtedly suffer damage, such as topping, tilting, impact, or root breakage. This damage is commonly recorded in the tree-ring record and analysis of this record can be used to reconstruct past landslide activity.


Annual Ring Fault Scarp Reaction Wood Landslide Movement Annual Ring Width 
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.



The authors thank L.W. Anderson, R.A. Crovelli, H.C. Fritts, T.C. Hanks, D.K. Keefer, and D.R. Lageson whose knowledge and ideas contributed to this paper. Previous versions of this manuscript benefited from reviews by F.C. Brunstein, D.R. Butler, J.R. Giardino, H.L. Goldstein, K.M. Haller, and J.S. Pigati, and an anonymous reviewer


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.U.S. Geological SurveyDenver Federal CenterDenverUSA

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