Surprising findings on forest fires

ScienceDaily | 2/21/2019 | Staff
xhelloworld (Posted by) Level 4
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Every summer there are more and more reports of bush and forest fires in the south. But even long before man adapted earth's vegetation to his purposes or started fires, large fires occurred at regular intervals. Researchers at the University of Bonn have investigated the frequency and intensity of these steppe, bush and forest fires over the past 600,000 years using drill cores from the bottom of Lake Van in eastern Turkey. During this period, rainfall washed the soil and pollen from the surrounding area into the lake, which thus became a unique archive.

In 2010, an international team of scientists led by the paleobotanist Prof. Dr. Thomas Litt from the Institute of Geosciences and Meteorology had already drilled the deposits of Lake Van with a floating platform. "In the 220-meter thick sediment profile, we were able to reconstruct the vegetation of the past 600,000 years using pollen," says Litt. On the basis of the composition of the pollen in the individual layers, the paleobotanist determined which plants grew particularly frequently during particular epochs. Based on the temperature and water requirements of these plant species, the scientists were able to draw conclusions about the respective climate.

Soil - Scientists - Institute - Crop - Sciences

Together with soil scientists from the Institute of Crop Sciences and Resource Conservation (INRES) at the University of Bonn, the researchers analyzed the fire residues in the drill cores. The fire residue particles are partly microscopically small and finely distributed in the sediments. "We therefore used a method that works independently of the visibility of the charcoal residues," explains soil scientist Prof. Dr. Wulf Amelung from INRES. Benzene polycarboxylic acids served as a biomarker for the fire residues, respectively as biomarker for Black Carbon. The age of the layers in the drill cores, the pollen contained therein and the content of benzene-polycarboxylic acids made it possible...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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