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Dendrochronologyalso called tree-ring datingthe scientific discipline concerned with dating and interpreting past events, particularly paleoclimates and climatic trends, based on the analysis of tree rings. Samples are obtained by means of an increment borer, a simple metal tube of small diameter that can be driven into a tree to get a core extending from bark to centre.
This core is split in the laboratory, the rings are counted and measured, and the sequence of rings is correlated with sequences from other cores. Dendrochronology is based on the fact that many species of trees produce growth rings during annual growing seasons.
The width of the ring i. The ring measurements taken from trees with overlapping ages can extend knowledge of climates back thousands of years.
The bristlecone pines of California have proven to be particularly suitable for such chronologies, since some individual trees are more than 4, years old. Additional Info. Print Cite verified Cite.
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Dendrochronology: what tree rings tell us about past and present
External Websites. See all media. Also Known As: tree-ring dating Show more. Full Article. Britannica Quiz.
How the Earth Works: A Quiz. The Earth sciences tell us how the Earth works.
See how much of an Earth scientist you are by taking this quiz. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. Dendroclimatology and dendrochronology are names given to these fields of study.
Historically, growth rings also called growth increments were called annual rings. Modern understanding of seasonal wood formation now recognizes that many trees, particularly in the tropics and subtropics, form rings not on an annual basis but…. Under such a situation, the annual tree rings vary in width as a direct reflection of the moisture supplied.
What is important in tree-ring dating is the sequence…. The age of a tree that has grown in any region with a seasonal contrast in climate can be established by counting its growth rings.
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