Bighorn Mountains Dendrochronology

Trapper Creek Canyon, WY

Trapper Creek Canyon is the largest and deepest (~150 m) of the 3 canyons sampled in 1998. It is a tributary of Shell Creek and its canyon mouth is near the town of Shell, WY. Douglas fir growing along the southern rim of the canyon were the oldest trees sampled in 1998. A core of one tree (TCC22) had 775 rings. The ring width chronology from these trees has good sample depth back to 1500 AD. This chronology has a very strong climatic signal for drought stress or precipitation. Cross dating of one dead standing limber pine indicates that it died in about 1700 (the outermost ring in the core was formed in 1684, the innermost in 1340). This suggests that future sampling of dead wood could substantially extend the chronology.

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Sampled trees (left foreground) grow at the canyon's south rim.

Douglas fir dominates the north-facing canyon walls.

The south-facing wall is mostly treeless.

Steve and Steve plumbing the heights.

A Douglas fir with 650 rings.

This limber pine died in about 1700.

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