Study Firms Up Tree Ring Timeline, Offers New Lead On Ancient Eruption
Tree rings provide a useful way to study past climates and date specific events or objects, but some eras remain fuzzy.
Now, researchers from University of Arizona have developed a way to sharpen our picture of a key volcanic eruption.
To dial in when the island of Thera, also known as Santorini, erupted, and to firm up a vague period in the tree ring record, lead author Charlotte Pearson and colleagues used a combination of new pattern matching techniques.
The result was a year-by-year record covering more than two millennia of the Eastern Mediterranean Bronze and Iron Ages.
The study in the journal PNAS also describes a chemical marker that could pin Thera's eruption to 1560 BCE, though further research is needed.
Such a marker would also provide a useful marker for synchronizing other records in the region.