Bridging the Gap with Subfossil Douglas-Fir at Mesa Verde, Colorado
Old Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) trees and remnant "subfossil" logs have been found on the outcrop of a mafic igneous intrusion above the Mancos River Valley near Mesa Verde National Park. These trees and logs have been used to develop earlywood (EW), latewood (LW), and total ring width (TRW) chronologies dating from AD 722-2011. The new chronologies include good series replication during the former chronological "gap" from AD 1250 to 1400, which was so problematic for the initial development of the "Central Pueblo" chronology by A. E. Douglass. Discrete reconstructions of the cool-season (September-May) and early warm-season (June-July) moisture balance for Mesa Verde have been derived from the EW and adjusted LW width chronologies from the Mancos Valley. Cool-season drought is estimated to have been more severe and sustained than early warm-season conditions during the "Great Drought" of the late-13th Century when southwestern Colorado was depopulated. The combined archaeological, subfossil, and living tree chronologies of EW, LW, and TRW for the Mancos River and Mesa Verde Douglas-fir now date from AD 480-2011.
Stahle, D., Edmondson, J., Burns, J., Stahle, D., Burnette, D., Kvamme, E., Lequesne, C., & Therrell, M. (2015). Bridging the Gap with Subfossil Douglas-Fir at Mesa Verde, Colorado. Tree-Ring Research, 71 (2), 53-66. https://doi.org/10.3959/1536-1098-71.2.53