Groundwater Contamination Measured by Tree Rings

Finding out how groundwater is affected by contamination is important to the health of our planet, but recently it has been discovered that contamination histories have been under our noses all along, inside of tree rings. By studying the growth rings of tulip trees, researchers have found an effective way in measuring the amount of pollution in a given area. By examining the two different types of cells within the tulip tree rings, researchers are able to gather sufficient information on the movement of water within the tree and its connection to the quality water supply. When testing contaminated areas, samples were able to indicate the effects of the water contamination on plant life onsite, while also discovering the impact of the flow of contaminated groundwater in trees offsite.

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