Use of tree-ring chemistry to document historical ground-water contamination events

By:  and 



The annual growth rings of tulip trees (Liriodendron tulipifera L.) appear to preserve a chemical record of ground-water contamination at a landfill in Maryland. Zones of elevated iron and chlorine concentrations in growth rings from trees immediately downgradient from the landfill are closely correlated temporally with activities in the landfill expected to generate iron and chloride contamination in the ground water. Successively later iron peaks in trees increasingly distant from the landfill along the general direction of ground-water flow imply movement of iron-contaminated ground water away from the landfill. The historical velocity of iron movement (2 to 9 m/yr) and chloride movement (at least 40 m/yr) in ground water at the site was estimated from element-concentration trends of trees at successive distances from the landfill. The tree-ring-derived chloride-transport velocity approximates the known ground-water velocity (30 to 80 m/yr). A minimum horizontal hydraulic conductivity (0.01 to .02 cm/s) calculated from chloride velocity agrees well with values derived from aquifer tests (about 0.07 cm/s) and from ground-water modeling results (0.009 to 0.04 cm/s).

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Use of tree-ring chemistry to document historical ground-water contamination events
Series title Groundwater
DOI 10.1111/j.1745-6584.1990.tb01983.x
Volume 28
Issue 5
Year Published 1990
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Toxic Substances Hydrology Program
Description 8 p.
First page 677
Last page 684
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional metadata about this publication, not found in other parts of the page is in this table