Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Stratigraphic Charcoal Analysis on Petrographic Thin Sections: Application to Fire History in Northwestern Minnesota

  • James S. Clark (a1)
Abstract

Results of stratigraphic charcoal analysis from thin sections of varved lake sediments have been compared with fire scars on red pine trees in northwestern Minnesota to determine if charcoal data accurately reflect fire regimes. Pollen and opaque-spherule analyses were completed from a short core to confirm that laminations were annual over the last 350 yr. A good correspondence was found between fossil-charcoal and fire-scar data. Individual fires could be identified as specific peaks in the charcoal curves, and times of reduced fire frequency were reflected in the charcoal data. Charcoal was absent during the fire-suppression era from 1920 A.D. to the present. Distinct charcoal maxima from 1864 to 1920 occurred at times of fire within the lake catchment. Fire was less frequent during the 19th century, and charcoal was substantially less abundant. Fire was frequent from 1760 to 1815, and charcoal was abundant continuously. Fire scars and fossil charcoal indicate that fires did not occur during 1730–1750 and 1670–1700. Several fires occurred from 1640 to 1670 and 1700 to 1730. Charcoal counted from pollen preparations in the area generally do not show this changing fire regime. Simulated “sampling” of the thin-section data in a fashion comparable to pollen-slide methods suggests that sampling alone is not sufficient to account for differences between the two methods. Integrating annual charcoal values in this fashion still produced much higher resolution than the pollen-slide method, and the postfire suppression decline of charcoal characteristic of my method (but not of pollen slides) is still evident. Consideration of the differences in size of fragments counted by the two methods is necessary to explain charcoal representation in lake sediments.

Copyright
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

T.D. Allison , R.E. Moeller , M.B. Davis , (1986). Pollen in laminated sediments provides evidence for a mid-Holocene forest pathogen outbreak. Ecology. 67, 1101-1105.

J.S. Clark , (1986). Coastal forest tree populations in a changing environment, southeastern Long Island, New York. Ecological Monographs. 56, 259-277.

J.S. Clark , 1988c. Effect of climate change on fire regime in northwestern Minnesota. Nature. in press.

L.C. Cwynar , (1977). The recent fire history of Barron Township, Algonquin Park. Canadian Journal of Botany. 55, 1524-1538.

L.C. Cwynar , (1978). Recent history of fire and vegetation from laminated sediment of Greenleaf Lake, Algonquin Park, Ontario. Canadian Journal of Botany. 56, 10-21.

T.J. Fahey , W.A. Reiners , (1981). Fire in the forests of Maine and New Hampshire. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 108, 362-373.

E.A. FitzPatrick , (1984). Micromorphology of Soils. Chapman and Hall, London.

E.A. FitzPatrick , T. Gudmundsson , (1978). The impregnation of wet peat for the production of thin sections. Journal of Soil Science. 29, 585-587.

D.R. Foster , (1982). The history and pattern of fire in the boreal forest of southeastern Labrador. Canadian Journal of Botany. 61, 2459-2471.

R. Greeley , J.D. Iversen , (1985). Wind As a Geological Process on Earth, Mars, Venus, and Titan. Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge.

E.A. Johnson , (1979). Fire recurrence in the subarctic and its implications for vegetation composition. Canadian Journal of Botany. 57, 1374-1379.

W.A. Patterson , K.J. Edwards , D.J. Maguire , (1987). Microscopic charcoal as a fossil indicator of fire. Quaternary Science Reviews. 6, 3-23.

S.M. Peglar , S.C. Fritz , T. Alapieti , M. Saarnisto , H.J.B. Birks , (1984). Composition and formation of laminated sediments in Diss Mere, Norfolk, England. Boreas. 13, 13-28.

I.C. Prentice , (1985). Pollen representation, source area, and basin size: Toward a unified theory of pollen analysis. Quaternary Research. 23, 76-86.

I. Renberg , (1986). Photographic demonstration of the annual nature of a varve type common in N. Swedish lake sediments. Hydrobiologia. 140, 93-95.

E.W.B. Russell , (1983). Indian-set fires in the forests of the northeastern United States. Ecology. 64, 78-88.

A.E. Scheidegger , (1970). Theoretical Geomorphology. Springer-Verlag, New York.

H.E. Wright , (1980). Cores of soft lake sediments. Boreas. 9, 107-114.

O. Zackrisson , (1977). Influence of forest fires on the North Swedish boreal forests. Oikos. 29, 22-32.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Quaternary Research
  • ISSN: 0033-5894
  • EISSN: 1096-0287
  • URL: /core/journals/quaternary-research
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 48 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 20th January 2017 - 29th April 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.