Carbon Dating a Local Beech Tree

April 22nd at Woods Hole Public Library

On Monday, April 22, Earth Day, at 7:30 PM the Woods Hole Library will welcome  Mary Lardie Gaylord who will speak about her recent discoveries at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s  NOSAMS Lab, analyzing a historic beech tree for radiocarbon.

Mary Lardie Gaylord is Senior Research Assistant at the National Ocean Sciences Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (NOSAMS) facility at WHOI where she works in the Sample Preparation laboratory on various research projects including method development for radiocarbon techniques. 

In April 2015 a huge and ailing European Beech tree planted almost 150 years earlier by Woods Hole's Joseph Story Fay was cut down and removed from what is now Challenger Drive, on the WHOI village campus. A section of the tree was brought to the NOSAMS facility at WHOI where its radiocarbon content was analyzed. A radiocarbon signal from nuclear weapon testing performed in the 1950s and 60s on the other side of the world, was recorded in this tree and found by the researchers at WHOI. They developed new techniques as they worked on this tree, enabling graduate students to participate in global carbon research.

For more information, call the Library at 508-548-8961 or visit welcomes thoughtful comments and the varied opinions of our readers. We are in no way obligated to post or allow comments that our moderators deem inappropriate. We reserve the right to delete comments we perceive as profane, vulgar, threatening, offensive, racially-biased, homophobic, slanderous, hateful or just plain rude. Commenters may not attack or insult other commenters, readers or writers. Commenters who persist in posting inappropriate comments will be banned from commenting on