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Tree-ring dating provides scientists with three types of information: temporal, environmental, and behavioral.The temporal aspect of tree-ring dating has the longest history and is the most commonly known—tree rings can be used to date archaeological sites, such as the Cliff Dwellings found at Mesa Verde National Park (MVNP) or historic cabins.But for the specimen to be useful in extending the tree-ring chronology, the absolute calendar age of its rings must be determined.The annual growth rings vary in thickness each year depending on environmental factors such as rainfall.Everything else being equal, in a wet year trees will produce a larger growth ring.In a dry year, trees will produce a narrow growth ring.
Too often, scientists are overwhelmed with a glut of information about a particular subject, making it difficult to read through and separate the significant material from the unimportant. In the Science of Tree Rings web site, I've organized all facets of dendrochronology into neat groups, each available by clicking on the links at the left or on the slide-out menus that follow. I receive a small percentage (4%) from each sale and all proceeds go towards helping keep these web pages going.Many people think that the Science of Tree Rings web site is supported completely by my university. I do all the web page information searching, coding, and designing at home in my home office in my free time, which likely amounts so far to thousands of hours of personal time. In fact, if you buy anything after linking to Amazon through my stores, I still receive a small percentage.I paid for the Microsoft Expression Web Pro and Dreamweaver CS5 software, my Macbook Pro laptop (also running Windows 7 via VMware), my Dropbox Pro account, high-speed Internet and home wireless, wireless printer, and all the "hidden" overhead (paper, cartridges, electricity), even the extra server space needed for the many files! I'd like to keep these tree-ring web pages online for another 20 years! First, click on the "A to Z Index" button to the upper left for a comprehensive list of items available from these pages.The environmental aspect of tree-ring dating today has the most worldwide application, as tree rings can be used to construct records of ancient temperature, precipitation, and forest fire frequency.They can also be used to build databases of stream flow, drought severity, insect infestation, and other environmental variables that trees record while they grow.