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A 750-year fire history based on lake sediment records in central Yellowstone National Park

Author(s): Sarah H. Millspaugh, Cathy L. Whitlock
Year Published: 1995
Description:

A 750-year fire history was reconstructed for the Central Plateau of Yellowstone National Park from the deep-water sediments of five lakes. The charcoal record from a large lake provided a chronology of regional fires. Data from four small lakes were used to study local and extralocal fires. The co-occurrence of abundant charcoal and high magnetic-susceptibility values at the same stratigraphic level was used as evidence of a local catchment fire, and a charcoal peak without high magnetic susceptibility was ascribed to an extralocal fire or a local fire without a related erosion event. The fire history was compared with the dendrochronologic fire record for the last 450 years, and the close agreement provided the justification to extend the chronology back in time. Large areas of the region burned in AD 1988, c. 1700, c. 1560, and c. 1440. From c. 1220 to 1440 and c. 1700 to 1987, intermediate to small areas burned. The near-absence of fires in the twentieth century prior to the large fires of 1988 is evident in the charcoal record.

Citation: Millspaugh, Sarah H.; Whitlock, Cathy. 1995. A 750-year fire history based on lake sediment records in central Yellowstone National Park, USA. The Holocene 5(3): 283-292
Topic(s): Fire History
Ecosystem(s): Subalpine wet spruce-fir forest, Subalpine dry spruce-fir forest
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
NRFSN number: 13532
FRAMES RCS number: 10445
Record updated: Mar 22, 2018