Earthquakes happen when two layers of earth slip over each other and for now no one can predict on what scale and where it might come. But found that earthquakes help trees to grow. The altered landscape left behind after the earthquakes is proof of it happening. A new study by scientists showed the astonishing effect of an earthquake that continues even after the earthquake ends. That is the observable growth of trees which triggered shifts in the availability of groundwater due to earthquakes.
It’s been a long time since we’ve known that earthquakes help trees to grow but there is not much known in which way earthquakes affect trees’ growth. and how much is being recorded in the living trunks of trees.
Hydrologist Christian Mohr from the University of Potsdam in Germany explains, “The earthquakes with greater intensity actually raise the amount of water feeding stream flows, hence increasing levels of groundwater and thus allowing tree roots more access to water in an environment where water is not available in much quantity”.
They added that if tree growth is affected so much by water supply then the hydrological response of trees to earthquakes must be recorded by changing the tree’s growth rates.
To observe closely this idea of earthquakes helps trees to grow as earthquakes alter the water supply, trees close to valley streams and trees on the hilly sides are studied. Researchers studied Pinus radiata pine trees in Chile, as that area was affected by strong 8.8-magnitude earthquakes which also affected the Maule region in 2010 severely.
Also, the observations of tree cores taken in 2014, from the valley and hilly slope trees showed that few trees in the valley grow temporarily after the earthquakes. The observations were made on the basis of tree ring evidence (increment in lumen area) and the ratio of carbon isotopes in tree cells which gives a cellular level approach to health, growth, and water availability of trees.
A few trees on the slope also didn’t fare well in the same duration which added value to the researchers’ hypothesis. Scientists’ team claimed that the overall effect of earthquakes on tree growth was less and remained only for a few period weeks. The postseismic changes in lumen area and carbon isotopes ratio will help to study tree growth and photosynthetic response to earthquakes thus might show how earthquakes help trees to grow.
“Details of wood anatomy and isotopes might provide tree-based ways for paleoseismology instead of simply considering width”, researchers write.