New research shows that earthquakes can promote tree growth

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08dc267e4d0f9da - New research shows that earthquakes can promote tree growth

Irina panyushkina, a tree ring expert at the University of Arizona who was not involved in the study, said: “this is really a more accurate one than a year (earthquake timing) a new field. ”

Christian Mohr, a hydrologist at the University of Potsdam, did not intend to find a link between earthquakes and tree growth. But his research took a turn after the 8.8 Maule earthquake in Chile in 2010. It shook the river valley where he was studying sediment migration. Mohr said,” I was there when the earthquake happened. It was very terrible. ” The earthquake and subsequent tsunami destroyed parts of the Chilean coast, killing hundreds of people and directly affecting more than 2 million people.

when Mohr and his colleagues returned to one of the valleys after the earthquake, they found that the flow rate of streams there increased. Mohr suspected that the Maule earthquake shook the soil, made them more permeable and made it easier for groundwater to flow from the ridge to the valley It seems natural that earthquakes may also help trees grow in valleys at the expense of trees on hillsides.

9d16d5e8a4b41a1 - New research shows that earthquakes can promote tree growth

to find out whether this happened, Maule and his colleagues grew six Monterey trees from the valley bottom and ridge line of two plantations in the coastal mountains of Chile More than 20 corks were drilled out of the pine trunk. Each cork was thinner than a pencil and twice the length of one. In a laboratory in Germany, they put thin slices of the tree core under a microscope to track how the size and shape of the cells in the tree ring changed with more water. The researchers also measured how the proportion of heavy carbon and light carbon isotopes in these cells changed. Trees absorb more carbon-12 than carbon-13 in photosynthesis, so the change of this proportion can predict the growth of photosynthesis.

they found that the trees at the bottom of the valley experienced a small and obvious growth peak lasting for weeks to months after the Maule earthquake – a growth as strong as that caused by rainstorm. As predicted, the trees on the ridge after the earthquake grew They grew more slowly last month in the Journal of geophysical research and biogeographic science This situation is reported on the.

panyushkina said that this technology can be used to identify earthquakes and other events that lead to short-term growth effects. If only the width of tree rings is considered, these effects may be missed. Since tree rings reflect the average growth of each year, studies using them to identify earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis can only trace events back to the latest at best By combining cell level measurements with carbon isotope data, Mohr and his colleagues were able to lock in time within one month.

Andres iroum é, a hydrologist and forestry scientist at the University of southern Chile who was not involved in the study, said that the logical next step is to repeat the study in different places to see if the technology is suitable for different tree species And climatic conditions. In Chile, foresters often plant fast-growing Monterey pine in arid soils that restrict tree growth. Mohr expects the new method to play the greatest role in similar arid areas, where additional water will lead to greater growth eruptions. He plans to repeat the study with tree cores in Napa Valley, California.

panyushkina said that this method is still available It can help scientists peep into the past. She predicts that this method may one day help researchers identify short-term disturbances such as earthquakes that occurred thousands of years ago. She says reconstructing a more accurate record of ancient earthquakes and other events affecting groundwater is “important for geology, hydrology and society”. “(these researchers) It provides technology and tools. “