An interesting article about using CO2 and carbon isotopes to determine volcanic activity at Yellowstone. There was a quake storm in 1978 or so. They’ve now gone back to tree rings and found that the CO2 emissions roughly doubled during that event. They found this via using the Carbon isotope ratio.
Tree-ring 14C links seismic swarm to CO2 spike at Yellowstone, USA
Williams C. Evans1, Deborah Bergfeld1, John P. McGeehin2, John C. King3 and Henry Heasler4
1 U.S. Geological Survey, 345 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park, California 94025, USA
2 U.S. Geological Survey, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston, Virginia 20192, USA
3 Lone Pine Research, 2604 Westridge Drive, Bozeman, Montana 59715, USA
4 National Park Service, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 82190, USA
Mechanisms to explain swarms of shallow seismicity and inflation-deflation cycles at Yellowstone caldera (western United States) commonly invoke episodic escape of magma-derived brines or gases from the ductile zone, but no correlative changes in the surface efflux of magmatic constituents have ever been documented. Our analysis of individual growth rings in a tree core from the Mud Volcano thermal area within the caldera links a sharp ∼25% drop in 14C to a local seismic swarm in 1978. The implied fivefold increase in CO2 emissions clearly associates swarm seismicity with upflow of magma-derived fluid and shows that pulses of magmatic CO2 can rapidly traverse the 5-km-thick brittle zone, even through Yellowstone’s enormous hydrothermal reservoir. The 1978 event predates annual deformation surveys, but recognized connections between subsequent seismic swarms and changes in deformation suggest that CO2 might drive both processes.
Nice bit of science.
The implications for “climate science” are rather interesting too.
If you can get variation in Carbon Isotopes from volcanic activity, does that not imply that some of the present shifts of isotope ratios can be due to volcanic changes? Doesn’t that kind of toss a spanner into the works on attributing all isotope changes to human causes?
If local tree ring growth is modulated by local volcanic emissions, does that not imply that some of the various trees who’s rings are asserted to measure global temperature changes might be responding to volcanoes upwind somewhere? Doesn’t that kind of toss a spanner into the works on attributing all tree ring changes to temperature causes?
You can’t have it both ways. If the volcanic activity is reflected in the tree ring isotopes and show local CO2 levels doubling for a while (and we know trees grow faster with more CO2) then we have an existence proof of trees being changed by local volcanic effects. The assumption in “climate science” is that those effects either don’t exist or are not relevant.
But any given tree grows in a local environment. It “inhales” CO2 from upwind. So upwind volcanic activity MUST be known to be able to dismiss the effect. Heck, even upwind forest fires need to be known. Realize too that “upwind” for some volcanoes can be a very long distance. Last time Yellowstone had a giant eruption, ash fell in Nebraska… Similarly, when Iceland has a large event, it has effects all over Europe (and even some into Asia).
So it looks to me like a few trees in Yellowstone have rather a lot to say…