Thesis Title

Dendrochemical analysis of oak tree rings to yield a metal pollution history in Springfield, Missouri


Heather Rache

Date of Graduation

Fall 2000


Master of Science in Geospatial Sciences


Geography, Geology, and Planning

Committee Chair

Robert Pavlowsky


Dendrochemical analysis offers potential opportunities for historical environmental monitoring. Oak tree rings at three polluted sites and one background site were used to determine the dendrochemical record of metals in the trees sampled. The concentrations of lead and zinc were analyzed using a microwave digestion system with nitric acid and inductively coupled plasma optical emissions spectroscopy. Tree core metal concentration increases with landuse intensity and inferred higher pollution rates. Tree ring metal concentrations did not appear to be related to soil metal concentrations. However, wood metal concentrations increased with the organic material content of the soil. Dendrochemistry was found to be an effective technique for pollution monitoring in Springfield, Missouri when its limitations are understood and taken into account.

Subject Categories

Botany | Environmental Monitoring | Soil Science


© Heather Rache