2009 Portland GSA Annual Meeting (18-21 October 2009)

Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:00 PM


AUGHENBAUGH, Kelly1, MENNETT, Colin1, WEISENBERG, Nick2 and WILES, Gregory1, (1)Geology, The College of Wooster, 1189 Beall Ave, Wooster, OH 44691, (2)Christian & Son Inc, 15022 Gearhart Rd, Burbank, OH 44214, kaughenbaugh10@wooster.edu

Dendrochronology provides an exact calendar date for the cutting of timbers incorporated in historical structures. These dates are valuable for historians and archaeologists as they can determine cut dates of wood that refute or confirm the age of wooden artifacts and historical structures.

Funded by The College of Wooster’s Center for Entrepreneurship, a team of students, community professionals and faculty developed a service based on a strong tree–ring database from years of tree-ring/climate work in Ohio and Pennsylvania. With the help of historians, architects and historical renovation firms a client base was developed. Students in the Wooster Tree Ring Lab learned tree-ring dating and report writing as well as aspects of building a business.

The tree-ring data generated in this project are then used for paleoenvironmental reconstruction of moisture variability in the Midwest. Three regional tree-ring time series are being developed from the southern Ohio/Cincinnati, Northeastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania regions. Ring-width chronologies derived from living trees and historical structures number over 600 individual series. Together these chronologies are being used to reconstruct past variability in river flow for the Ohio River Valley in addition to their more established use in drought (PDSI) reconstructions. Details of the post-Revolutionary War patterns of settlement are being added along with a better understanding of the environmental conditions settlers experienced. For example, most of the logging during the late 1700s and early 1800s was done in the winter months during a time of the Little Ice Age when drier and likely colder conditions relative to the 20th century.