Clues from hurricane 'fingerprints'

"Hard hats and head lamps are not tools one usually associates with hurricane hunters. But for Amy Frappier they are indispensable.
The Boston College geochemist and her colleagues have been searching for signs of hurricanes in stalagmites that rise like jagged stone fangs from the floors of caves in Latin America. In the formations' tree-ringlike growth layers, she and her colleagues have shown that stalagmites record individual hurricanes by the unique chemical fingerprints the storms leave on the rain they dump. Buoyed by results published last April from a field trip to Belize in 2001, the team this summer has been focusing its hunt on caves on Mexico's Yucatan peninsula.
Meanwhile, a group of scientists at the University of Tennessee has been looking for similar signatures hidden in tree rings. The samples gathered in 2001 from a region of woods near Valdosta, Ga., have yielded a record of hurricane activity reaching back 220 years. Colleagues at the University of South Carolina say they have conducted similar work that pushes the record there back to the 1400s. (...)"

Full article: Csmonitor.com

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