Tree ring age dating

This remarkable tree was approximately 1400 years old, and grew on this rugged mountain ridge during the time of Mohammed.

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How large the cambium's cells grow in each year--measured as the width of each ring--is dependent on seasonal changes such as temperature and moisture availability.

Environmental inputs into the cambium are primarily regional climatic variations, changes in temperature, aridity, and soil chemistry, which together are encoded as variations in the width of a particular ring, in the wood density or structure, and/or in the chemical composition of the cell walls.

Tree-ring dating works because a tree grows larger--not just height but gains girth--in measurable rings each year in its lifetime.

The rings are the cambium layer, a ring of cells that lie between the wood and bark and from which new bark and wood cells originate; each year a new cambium is created leaving the previous one in place.

By counting the thin bands (annual rings) on the wood cylinder, the approximate age of the tree can be determined.

Often the borer does not reach the center of the trunk, so the total number of years must be extrapolated from the radius of the trunk.As archaeological dating techniques go, dendrochronology is extremely precise: if the growth rings in a wooden object are preserved and can be tied into an existing chronology, researchers can determine the precise calendar year--and often season--the tree was cut down to make it.Because of that precision, dendrochronology is used to calibrate ​radiocarbon dating, by giving science a measure of the atmospheric conditions which are known to cause radiocarbon dates to vary.A tree was felled in 1982 giving rise to Stump A which dates back to 1906.The 1906 ring pattern in wood Sample A (which was cut from Stump A) correlates with a 1906 ring pattern in Sample B which was cut from an older, undated Stump B. By matching up similar spaced rings in Samples B, C and D, the ages of ancient timbers can be determined.Play a game that tests your ability to match the percentage of the dating element that remains to the age of the object.