White Mountains Bristlecone Pine
Growth ring records also establish a very accurate record of climate for the areas in which they grow. In wet years the rings are much larger than in drought years.
To establish a tree's age small cores are taken from the trunk. The cores provide a crossection of the Bristlecones annual growth rings. The growth rings can then be counted to very accurately establishes the age of a given tree.
With some dated at over 4500 years old the Bristlecone is believed to be earth's oldest living thing.
A Bristlecone pine is a study in contrast with its rich browns and greens against the white dolomite rocks and deep blue of the sky.
In the 1960s Cores from Bristlecones were used to calibrate the radiocarbon dating process now used as the standard by scientists for dating fossils and other artifacts.
One reason for their success is their ability to thrive in extreme conditions. They grow at high altitude in a type of rocky soil called dolomite. Weather conditions here are very harsh below freezing much of the winter dry and baking hot in the summer. Few other plants can survive much less compete with the Bristlecone in these conditions.
Species: Pinus longaeva
- Image Size
- 4100x2723 / 3.6MB
- Contained in galleries
- Northern California