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Mystery of infamous 'New England Dark Day' solved by 3 rings
University of Missouri-Columbia ^ | Jun 6, 2008 | Unknown

Posted on 06/08/2008 5:31:10 AM PDT by decimon

Black day of 1780 caused by distant wildfires, MU experts say

COLUMBIA, Mo. – At noon, it was black as night. It was May 19, 1780 and some people in New England thought judgment day was at hand. Accounts of that day, which became known as 'New England's Dark Day,' include mentions of midday meals by candlelight, night birds coming out to sing, flowers folding their petals,and strange behavior from animals. The mystery of this day has been solved by researchers at the University of Missouri who say evidence from tree rings reveals massive wildfires as the likely cause, one of several theories proposed after the event, but dismissed as 'simple and absurd.'

"The patterns in tree rings tell a story," said Erin McMurry, research assistant in the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources Tree Ring Laboratory. "We think of tree rings as ecological artifacts. We know how to date the rings and create a chronology, so we can tell when there has been a fire or a drought occurred and unlock the history the tree has been holding for years."

Limited ability for long-distance communication prevented colonists from knowing the cause of the darkness. It was dark in Maine and along the southern coast of New England with the greatest intensity occurring in northeast Massachusetts, southern New Hampshire and southwest Maine. In the midst of the Revolutionary War, Gen. George Washington noted the dark day in his diary while he was in New Jersey.

Nearly 230 years later, MU researchers combined written accounts and fire scar evidence to determine that the dark day was caused by massive wildfires burning in Canada.

"A fire comes along and heat goes through the bark, killing the living tissue. A couple of years later, the bark falls off revealing the wood and an injury to the tree. When looking at the rings, you see charcoal formation on the outside and a resin formation on the top that creates a dark spot," said Richard Guyette, director of the Tree Ring Lab and research associate professor of forestry in the MU School of Natural Resources.

The researchers studied tree rings from the Algonquin Highlands of southern Ontario and many other locations. They found that a major fire had burned in 1780 affecting atmospheric conditions hundred of miles away. Large smoke columns were created and carried into the upper atmosphere.

"This study was a unique opportunity to take historical accounts and combine them with modern technology and the physical historical evidence from the tree rings and solve a mystery with science," McMurry said.

The study – "Fire Scars Reveal Source of New England's 1780 Dark Day" – was published in the International Journal of Wildland Fire.


TOPICS: History; Outdoors; Science; Weather
KEYWORDS: catastrophism; environment; fire; godsgravesglyphs; naturaldisaster; trees
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1 posted on 06/08/2008 5:31:10 AM PDT by decimon
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To: blam; SunkenCiv

Night and day ping.

Perhaps within your FR purviews.


2 posted on 06/08/2008 5:35:38 AM PDT by decimon
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To: decimon

A wildfire no doubt started by some evil Puritan SUV!


3 posted on 06/08/2008 5:42:29 AM PDT by ozark hilljilly (I was gruntled before I was disgruntled.)
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To: ozark hilljilly

Bush’s fault I’m sure


4 posted on 06/08/2008 5:44:50 AM PDT by AppyPappy (If you aren't part of the solution, there is good money to be made prolonging the problem.)
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To: decimon

“the International Journal of Wildland Fire.”

There’s a page turner publication for you.


5 posted on 06/08/2008 5:51:04 AM PDT by Mr. Pumblechook
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To: decimon
These states were more or less at war at the time...fighting over boundaries...and there were plenty of scientists around....and newspapers....so I'm not sure why this BECAME a mystery...

They make it sound like we were living in the dark ages.

Wonder how big the grant for this was??

6 posted on 06/08/2008 5:51:13 AM PDT by Sacajaweau (N)
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To: Mr. Pumblechook
There’s a page turner publication for you.

If you're a pyromaniac.

7 posted on 06/08/2008 5:54:13 AM PDT by decimon
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To: Sacajaweau
They make it sound like we were living in the dark ages.

Well, we are talking Canada here. ;-)

8 posted on 06/08/2008 5:55:24 AM PDT by decimon
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To: decimon

Some magnificent buildings in Canada...”The Old Fishing Hole”....An Upstate New Yorker...


9 posted on 06/08/2008 6:05:08 AM PDT by Sacajaweau (N)
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To: ozark hilljilly
A wildfire no doubt started by some evil Puritan SUV!

Nope. Careless smoker.

10 posted on 06/08/2008 6:15:18 AM PDT by Turret Gunner A20 (If the opposite of Pro is Con, what is the opposite of Progress? -- Tom Glennon)
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To: ozark hilljilly
A wildfire no doubt started by some evil Puritan SUV!

Nope. Careless smoker.

Sue the tobacco companies!!!

11 posted on 06/08/2008 6:15:36 AM PDT by Turret Gunner A20 (If the opposite of Pro is Con, what is the opposite of Progress? -- Tom Glennon)
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To: ozark hilljilly
A wildfire no doubt started by some evil Puritan SUV!

Where's Albore???

12 posted on 06/08/2008 6:17:13 AM PDT by Turret Gunner A20 (If the opposite of Pro is Con, what is the opposite of Progress? -- Tom Glennon)
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To: Mr. Pumblechook
“the International Journal of Wildland Fire.”

There’s a page turner publication for you.

For arsonists, a 'how-to' guide, I guess.

13 posted on 06/08/2008 6:19:46 AM PDT by Turret Gunner A20 (If the opposite of Pro is Con, what is the opposite of Progress? -- Tom Glennon)
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To: Turret Gunner A20
So, did the temperature rise the next year from all the CO2?
14 posted on 06/08/2008 6:23:37 AM PDT by Paladin2 (Huma for co-president!)
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To: Turret Gunner A20

It was started a a careless mountain man and his damn flintlock.


15 posted on 06/08/2008 6:26:31 AM PDT by TLEIBY308 (I AM PRO CHOICE,I BELEIVE EVERYONE SHOULD CARRY WHAT EVER GUN THEY CHOOSE)
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To: decimon

American Imperialism strikes again!


16 posted on 06/08/2008 7:22:28 AM PDT by sbMKE
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To: decimon
"Perhaps within your FR purviews."

Good one, thanks.

I thought this was going to be about the 'The Year Without Summer', 1816.

17 posted on 06/08/2008 8:05:35 AM PDT by blam
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To: blam
I thought this was going to be about the 'The Year Without Summer', 1816.

The Iroquois held a big beach party on Lake Superior that year.

18 posted on 06/08/2008 9:52:37 AM PDT by decimon
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To: decimon; blam; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; 1ofmanyfree; 21twelve; 24Karet; 3AngelaD; ...

· join list or digest · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post a topic ·

 
Gods
Graves
Glyphs
Thanks decimon.
Nearly 230 years later, MU researchers combined written accounts and fire scar evidence to determine that the dark day was caused by massive wildfires burning in Canada.
This has been suggested a number of times in the past. My junior high science teacher once told me he'd done some kind of college paper in which he'd come to that conclusion. :')
Google
Not the only mystery of 1780 -- Where did the 1780 eclipse go?

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
GGG managers are Blam, StayAt HomeMother, and Ernest_at_the_Beach
 

· Google · Archaeologica · ArchaeoBlog · Archaeology magazine · Biblical Archaeology Society ·
· Mirabilis · Texas AM Anthropology News · Yahoo Anthro & Archaeo ·
· History or Science & Nature Podcasts · Excerpt, or Link only? · cgk's list of ping lists ·


19 posted on 06/08/2008 8:43:11 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/_________________________Profile updated Friday, May 30, 2008)
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To: 75thOVI; aimhigh; Alice in Wonderland; AndrewC; aristotleman; Avoiding_Sulla; BenLurkin; Berosus; ..
Thanks decimon.
 
Catastrophism
· join · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post new topic ·

20 posted on 06/08/2008 8:44:42 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/_________________________Profile updated Friday, May 30, 2008)
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