Volume 86 Issue 36 | pp. 37-38
Issue Date: September 8, 2008

Trees Testify To Pollution

Tree rings help scientists trace the source and timing of chemical leaks and spills in the environment
Department: Science & Technology, ACS News | Collection: Climate Change, Green Chemistry
News Channels: Environmental SCENE

TREES HAVE STORIES to tell. Within their annual growth rings are records of drought and deluge, but scientists can also use them to reconstruct environmental pollution events. Tree rings can be used to determine how far a pollutant plume has traveled in soil or groundwater. And because each ring is essentially a time stamp, scientists can use tree rings to figure out when that pollution occurred.

Dendrochemistry, the chemical analysis of precisely dated tree rings, . . .

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