Two dendrochronological properties – ring width and ring chemistry – were investigated in trees near Cinder Cone in Lassen Volcanic National Park, northeastern California, for the purpose of re-evaluating the date of its eruption. Cinder Cone is thought to have erupted in AD 1666 based on ring-width evidence, but interpreting ring-width changes alone is not straightforward because many forest disturbances can cause changes in ring width. Old Jeffrey pines growing in Cinder Cone tephra and elsewhere for control comparison were sampled. Trees growing in tephra show synchronous ring-width changes at AD 1666, but this ring-width signal could be considered ambiguous for dating the eruption because changes in ring width can be caused by other events. Trees growing in tephra also show changes in ring phosphorus, sulfur, and sodium during the late 1660s, but inter-tree variability in dendrochemical signals makes dating the eruption from ring chemistry alone difficult. The combination of dendrochemistry and ring-width signals improves confidence in dating the eruption of Cinder Cone over the analysis of just one ring-growth property. These results are similar to another case study using dendrochronology of ring width and ring chemistry at Parícutin, Michoacán, Mexico, a cinder cone that erupted beginning in 1943. In both cases, combining analysis with ring width and ring chemistry improved confidence in the dendro-dating of the eruptions.
Additional publication details
Multiple dendrochronological responses to the eruption of Cinder Cone, Lassen Volcanic National Park, California