Bristlecone pine carbon dating
This big picture is intended to illuminate the magnificence of bristlecone pines as living evidence of millennia gone by.
Photographed above are the members of Indiana University 's G190: Volcanoes of the Eastern Sierra Nevada .
So far, this amazing record from the Bristlecone pines only applies to the southwestern portion of the United States and has become useful also to the field of archaeology where ancient roof beams have been more accurately dated using the tree-ring growth records.
The White Mountains rise abruptly east of the Sierra Nevadas, reaching over 14,000 feet in elevation near the ancient Bristlecone pine forest.
It is calculated on the assumption that the atmospheric radiocarbon concentration has always been the same as it was in 1950 and that the half-life of radiocarbon is 5568 years.
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If we have a tree that is 500 years old we can measure the radiocarbon in the 500 rings and see what radiocarbon concentration corresponds to each calendar year.
Using very old trees (such as the Bristlecone Pines in the western U. A.), it is possible to make measurements back to a few thousand years ago.
The Bristlecone pine became famous in scientific circles through the work of Dr.
Edmund Schulman (1908-1958) of the University of Arizona.His dendrochronological studies spanned almost thirty years, of which the last five were spent mostly in the White Mountains.