In 1998, scientists at Lamont-Doherty’s Tree Ring Laboratory and their colleagues in Mongolia found a Siberian pine tree in the Tarvagatay Mountains of Mongolia that dated back to 262 A.D. This old timer was a relict tree, dead since 496 A.D., enduring centuries of harsh weather at elevational tree line but not decomposing because it never touched the ground. It was a lucky find. They also cored living trees at the site, known as Solongotyn Davaa, or Sol Dav. The oldest of among these dated to the year 1428. In all, they harvested some 30 samples for analysis, including a good number of additional relict trees.By matching patterns in the rings, the dendrochronologists were able to connect the old timer to the other relict tree samples, and then connected those to the ones from living trees samples to ultimately get an uninterrupted temperature reconstruction from 262 to 1999.Next week, they’re going back to Sol Dav [map], to try to beat their record and to hopefully extend the chronology to 0 A.D.Filed under travels | Comment (0)
We spent this MLK weekend down at G’s farm in Raphine, VA, a place cupped by the Appalachians and the Blue Ridge Mountains. The landscape is stunning here, even in the middle of winter. Soft hills in the foreground and the sharper cuts the mountains make in the background, and the hills themselves have been mostly razed to make them amenable to grasses and the pasture animals that feed on them.
The road leading to the house is narrow and snakes along the base of the hills. The house itself was built on the crest of a wooded hill, so that, sitting on the porch, one has pretty views in all directions. At night, the silence is so complete that it was difficult for me to ignore my heart beating as I sat writing. Continue reading »Filed under travels | Comment (1)