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7 - Temporal Patterns

by Jefferson Williams

My current research on temporal patterns has led to trying to find seasonal patterns inside laminated sediments. The current focus is on pollen. The amount of pollen and type of pollen deposited in the sediments varies throughout the year with the greatest amount and variation occurring during the spring. In 2016, some colleagues working with palynologists Dr. Lourdes Lopez-Merino and Dr. Suzanne Leroy published an article where they were able to distinguish spring vs. fall deposition based on the pollen they found in the sediments of the Dead Sea (see below). Since Earthquakes in dry areas like the Dead Sea frequently kick up a dust cloud and the dust cloud should pull contemporary pollen off the ground, we should be able to example thin dust layers deposited atop the seismites to determine the pollen that was present when the earthquake struck. Then we can use the techniques developed by Lopez-Merino, Leroy and others to determine the time of year the earthquake struck. If you scroll to the bottom of the page you can see a small but growing collection of videos showing earthquake dust clouds.

Varved layers of Dead Sea sediment are divided up into whether they were deposited in the Spring (Green) or Autumn (Red) – from Lopez-Merino et. al. (2016)
References Earthquake Dust
Earthquake Dust