Annual patterns within tree rings of the Arctic middle Eocene (ca. 45 Ma): Isotopic signatures of precipitation, relative humidity, and deciduousness

A. Hope Jahren, Leonel Sternberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

56 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The spectacular preservation of middle Eocene (ca. 45 Ma) wood allows for intraseason sampling of stable carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen in order to reconstruct the paleoseasonal environment of this Arctic forest (paleolatitude 78.6° ± 1.6° N; present latitude 80° N). Carbon isotopes in bulk organics and cellulose reveal striking annual patterns interpreted as the seasonal switchover from stored to actively acquired carbon associated with deciduous growth in these unusual conifers. Oxygen and hydrogen stable isotopes of cellulose and cellulose nitrate allow for the calculation of changes in relative humidity and in the isotopic value of plant-available water. Clear annual patterns of increasing relative humidity resulting from tissue growth and concomitant transpiration are apparent, as is the systematic increase in the reconstructed oxygen isotope value of environmental water, reflecting progressively increasing temperatures during the growing season.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-102
Number of pages4
JournalGeology
Volume36
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2008

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tree ring
cellulose
relative humidity
Eocene
oxygen
paleolatitude
hydrogen isotope
carbon
transpiration
coniferous tree
carbon isotope
oxygen isotope
stable isotope
growing season
hydrogen
nitrate
water
sampling
temperature

Keywords

  • Arctic
  • Deciduousness
  • Eocene
  • Metasequoia
  • Relative humidity
  • Tree ring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology

Cite this

Annual patterns within tree rings of the Arctic middle Eocene (ca. 45 Ma) : Isotopic signatures of precipitation, relative humidity, and deciduousness. / Jahren, A. Hope; Sternberg, Leonel.

In: Geology, Vol. 36, No. 2, 01.02.2008, p. 99-102.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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