INSTITUTO ARGENTINO DE NIVOLOGIA, GLACIOLOGIA Y CIENCIAS AMBIENTALES
Unidad Ejecutora - UE
Testing the utility of Nothofagus pumilio for dating a snow avalanche in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
MUNDO, I.A.; BARRERA, M.D.; ROIG, F.A.
Año: 2007 vol. 25 p. 19 - 28
In the subalpine forest zone, snow avalanches are potentially stand-devastating disturbances. Historical data regarding past avalanches in Argentina are scarce, but sufficiently old trees can show signs of past avalanche episodes that can be accurately dated using dendrochronological methods. Tree-ring analysis has not yet been used for dating avalanches in Tierra del Fuego, even though these disturbances are important to the dynamics of these southern forests. In this study, we evaluated the quality of Nothofagus pumilio for dating the avalanche that took place in the Martial Valley in 1976. Tree-ring data, complemented with vegetation analysis, was used to study the avalanche path. The dendrochronological study consisted of the analysis of wood samples taken from living trees located on the boundary between the undisturbed forest and theavalanche path. The vegetation analysis compared the forest structure within the avalanche path with the unaffected nearby forest. Wood scars and the abrupt increase in tree growth confirmed the occurrence of an avalanche event in 1976 in the Martial Valley of Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. The vegetation structure within the avalanche path was considerably different than that of the undisturbed forest. We found an important relationship between sapling abundance within the avalanche path and their distance from the undisturbed forest and their altitudinal position. The dendrochronological dating obtained in this research confirmed that the techniques andmethodology used for N. pumilio in this study can be successfully applied for dating other avalanches that lack historical information.