It was in the fall of 2018 when geologist Christian Schlüchter received a tip from the local forester in the Engadine. Someone had discovered an exciting log near the melted glacier.
"When I get a report like that, I get nervous and excited," Schlüchter says. The professor emeritus at the University of Bern has been searching for glacier wood since the late 1980s.
Small pieces of wood, parts of trees, that's what he finds again and again. But what Schlüchter then saw at the Morteratsch glacier, he would not have expected: a piece of trunk of a larch about two meters long, including the rootstock. Even parts of the bark were still on it.
"This is unique," says Schlüchter, adding that he had never discovered anything like it in the Alps. With wood finds, he says, there is always one central question: "How far from the site did the trees grow, how far did the glacier transport them?"
A tree in this condition must have stood in the immediate vicinity, otherwise the trunk would look different, Schlüchter says.
This finding means that where there was glacier only today, trees once grew. This shows that the Morteratsch glacier was once much smaller than it is today.
But there is a second finding, Schlüchter points out: the trunk also reveals something about the time after the last ice age.
Fig. 4: The larch became 337 years old, then it died and the glacier buried the tree. zvg/Christian Schlüchter
The last phase of this ice age ended about 11,700 years ago. Now research has shown that the larch from the glacier started growing about 10,800 years ago.
So barely 1,000 years after the end of the ice age, there were already larches up there again, Schlüchter says. "That shows the unheard-of dynamics we see here," explains geologist Schlüchter.
The wood will now be studied even further. Part of the large trunk will be on display in the museum in Pontresina in the future.
Please use this thread to discuss whats going on at your school or place of work this week. Run into an interesting problem with a site design and need to hash it out with other LAs? This is the spot. Any content is welcome as long as it Landscape Architecture related. School, work, personal garden? Its all good, lets talk.
I'm about to run Princes of the Apocalypse and I noticed that the adventure describres the town as having no mayor, so who do the citizens pay taxes to?
Do tax collectors from a nearby Lord's Alliance member such as Amphail or Yartar govern the town? Or are Red Larchers living as an enlitened collective of free citizens?
Thanks for any help!
I noticed two large plumes of smoke coming from near the top while looking east on 4th Plain but I haven't been able to find anything about it today. Must have been pretty big to see from here.