Evaluation of 14C in tree rings provides a measure of the flux of magmatic CO2 from Mammoth Mountain both before and after 1994 when copious diffuse emissions were first discovered and linked to tree kill. We analyzed the annual rings of trees with two main purposes: (1) to track changes in the magnitude of magmatic CO2 emission over time, and (2) to determine the onset of magmatic CO2 emission at numerous sites on Mammoth Mountain. The onset of CO2 emission at different areas of tree kill was determined to be in 1990, closely following the seismic events of 1989. At Horseshoe Lake (HSL), CO2 emission was found to have peaked in 1991 and to have subsequently declined by a factor of two through 1998. The tree-ring data also show that emissions of magmatic carbon from cold springs below the tree-kill areas occurred well before 1989. Trees located on the margins of the kill areas or otherwise away from zones of maximum gas discharge were found to be better integrators of magmatic CO2 emission than those located in the center of tree kills. Although quantitative extrapolations from our data to a flux history will require that a relationship be established between 14C depletion in tree rings and average annual magmatic CO2 flux, the pattern of 14C depletion in tree rings is likely to be the most reliable indicator of the long-term changes in the magnitude of CO2 release from Mammoth Mountain. ?? 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Additional publication details
Radiocarbon studies of plant leaves and rings from mammoth mountain, CA: A long-term record of magmatic CO2 release