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Sat, Feb

From the eruption of the Timanfaya volcano in the Canary Islands to the coniferous forests in the Pyrenees

Typography

The chemical traces from the released gases into the atmosphere by eruptions such the Timanfaya’s can be now identified in the oldest coniferous Pyrenean forests.

In September 1730, a large eruption in the Timanfaya volcano (Canary Islands) completely changed the morphology of Lanzarote. Atmospheric changes that caused volcanic eruptions centuries ago, such as the one in Timanfaya or the Tambora volcano (Indonesia) –which hid the sunlight for months-, had an impact on high-mountain centennial forests in the Iberian Peninsula, as stated in an article published in the journal Science of the Total Environment in which the lecturer Emilia Gutiérrez, from the Faculty of Biology of the UB, has taken part.

The chemical traces from the released gases into the atmosphere by these volcanic eruptions can be now identified in the oldest coniferous Pyrenean forests, according to the study. In particular, eruptions such the Timanfaya’s in Lanzarote one of the strongest in the country due its duration until 1736 and the amount of thrown material and Tambora’s one of the biggest volcanic episodes, which led to a “year without summer” in 1816 released big amounts of iron that altered the chemical composition of the annual Pyrenean tree rings. According to this article, the study of the records of tree growth rings (dendrochronology) could help to see the frequency and intensity of the volcanic phenomena in modern times.

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Image via Universitat de Barcelona