A 20,000 year record of effective moisture and fire from Canaan Valley, West Virginia

Authors: Meghan Albritton*, , Zachary Taylor , Berry College , Mitzy Schaney , University of Pittsburgh Johnstown
Topics: Paleoenvironmental Change, Biogeography, Physical Geography
Keywords: paleoenvironments, climate, West Virginia, fire, peat, humification
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This project uses charcoal and geochemical analysis of two peat cores recovered from Canaan Valley, West Virginia. The Canaan Valley National Wildlife refuge contains the largest wetland complex in West Virginia and, due to its high elevation location, supports species commonly found in boreal environments. Our cores come from the northeastern portion of the valley where radio carbon dates have found peat as old as 20,000 years BP. Using humification, loss on ignition, and macroscopic charcoal analysis, my work will create a detailed record of fire and climate that stretches back thousands of years. These records will provide important information on historic and prehistoric fire dynamics and climate changes to local land managers and inform management efforts in West Virginia’s Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge.

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