2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 210-11
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


SWICK, Melanie, Department of Geology, St. Lawrence University, 23 Romoda Dr., Canton, NY 13617 and STEWART, Alexander K., Department of Geology, St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY 13617, mrswic12@stlawu.edu

The northwestern Adirondacks are lacking in palaeoclimate data; however, dendroarchaeology is helping to fill in this void. This region of the Adirondacks was settled over 100 years after Vermont and New Hampshire during the early 19th century and, hopefully, historical structure lumber will provide tree-ring data back some 500 years BP. After identifying the architecture of viable structures, structural lumber was evaluated for beams to sample. Beam characteristics promising the most valuable data included hand-hewn surfacing, evidence of bark and structural integrity of the wood. After sampling, cores were prepared for microscopic analysis for genus-level identification using gross and minute wood anatomy. Samples were then dot counted, digitized and processed using COFECHA and ARTSTAN software programs in preparation for chronology development. A sum of 91 cores were obtained from 63 beams, representing nine wood genera, within 8 different structures. Our preliminary structure, in particular, provided data from three pine (Pinus sp.) tie beams and 1 birch (Betula sp.) girt beam. The pine beams were correlated to a Canadian living pine chronology with a 0.41 correlation coefficient (cana127, Guyette, 1994); providing an 1840 cut date and a 1715-1840 lifespan for the series. The birch beam verified these results and correlated (0.46) with a New York living birch chronology (ny023, Pederson, 2013); also revealing an 1840 cut date. The pine and birch anatomy both suggest a fall-winter cut date with a plausible 1841 construction date for the home. This one structure offers the first annual-resolution palaeoclimate data for this region extending back to 1715. These findings are beginning to provide a deeper understanding of settlement patterns, pre-settlement forest ecology and the possibility of beginning palaeoclimate reconstructions in a region previously devoid of such opportunity.