Browsing Radiocarbon, Volume 40, Number 1 (1998) by Authors
The Tunguska Event as Recorded in a Tree TrunkYonenobu, Hitoshi; Takenaka, Chisato (Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, 1998-01-01)A living spruce tree was collected near the explosion center of the Tunguska event that occurred in 1908. We measured annual ring width and studied anatomical features to reconstruct the possible vegetational changes caused by the biological aftereffects of the Tunguska explosion. Delta-14C of annual rings from 1908 to 1910 was measured with a Tandetron accelerator mass spectrometer. The annual ring width decreased rapidly in 1908-1912, drastically increased in 1913, and decreased gradually thereafter. Traumatic resin ducts were observed in the transition zone between earlyand latewood of the annual ring formed in 1908. We thus reconstruct these vegetational changes in the Tunguska forest: the Tunguska explosion damaged forest trees severely for ca. 3 yr, releasing rich nutrients from burned plants into the soil, and subsequently the vegetation was stimulated to recover by decreased socio-biological competition and better lighting conditions. Delta-14C values range from -28.2 to -1.5 per mil for Tunguska spruce, and from -29.7 to 12.6 per mil for Hinoki cypress. These fluctuations are within the ranges presented in Stuiver and Becker (1993), suggesting no evidence of anomalies of cometary origin in carbon isotopic composition. We found no significant difference between Delta-14C of Tunguska spruce and of Hinoki cypress.