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Paleo Slide Set: Tree Rings: Ancient Chronicles of Environmental Change
Skeleton plots
As stated before, dendrochronological dating is not based on simple ring counting, but instead relies on matching patterns of ring widths from tree to tree. The ring-width patterns are plotted on skeleton plots, which are representations of the patterns of frequency and magnitude of the narrowest rings, as well as other notable ring characteristics. Skeleton plot are used to develop a pattern of characteristic rings for each sample that can be matched from tree to tree. The pattern matching allows for the detection of missing and false rings and other dating errors and is used to ensure accurate dating. In the skeleton plots shown in this slide, the little black flags at the ends of each plot indicate the first and last rings in the sample. The length of the plotted lines correspond inversely to the narrowness of the surrounding rings, and thus, the longest lines match with the narrowest rings.

Photo Credits:
Connie Woodhouse
NOAA Paleoclimatology Program
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Last Modified: 12 October 2001

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