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Mine Exploration Forum

Author Lichen as guide to chronology
Jim MacPherson

Joined: 02/09/2015

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Lichen as guide to chronology
Posted: 02/12/2017 08:34:33
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I'm led to believe by a botanist that some types of lichen can be a good dating guide to when something appeared, the telegraph pole for example or when a building/structure stopped being used, a bouseteam for example.



(click image to open full size image in new window)

Has anyone on AditNow effectively (and accurately) used this technique? and does anyone know of a good idiot's guide (preferably with photosConfused ) for the specific lichens to identify and measure?

She also suggested fungi may, possibly, be a soil chemical indicator, e.g lead levels etc. but as they are somewhat more ephemeral they might be difficult to record.

Jim
IP: 147.147.16.38
John_Smith

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Joined: 09/07/2017

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Lichen as guide to chronology
Posted: 02/12/2017 09:47:39
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Yeah lichens have been commonly used as pollution indicators in environmental science.

As for dating, I wouldn’t trust it and in environmental science background I have never come across it. Assuming that lichens are correlative to age, why aren’t all things covered in lichens then?

I don’t think such a thing is possible as there are many environmental factors that influence lichen growth.
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legendrider

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Joined: 13/07/2014
Location: Darlington

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Lichen as guide to chronology
Posted: 02/12/2017 10:17:04
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There have been several scholarly approaches to lichenometry to estimate ages of exposed surfaces.

Environmental factors influencing colonisation lead time and growth rates, as well as sampling and measurement considerations, will all affect the results significantly.

I doubt it will ever be reliable as an absolute dating method, but may be useful as a relative indicator tool.



MARK







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festina lente IP: 86.146.175.30
Jim MacPherson

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Lichen as guide to chronology
Posted: 02/12/2017 14:15:34
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legendrider wrote:

There have been several scholarly approaches to lichenometry to estimate ages of exposed surfaces.



You and your erudition Mark, it there no end!Smile

My meanderings into said scholarly stuff seems to suggest Rhizocarpon geographicum is the beastie to identify, which creates the first hurdle, can I be sure of identifying it correctly (even with a photo) and as both you and John_Smith point out the size etc has to be in context, which gives me hurdle No. 2, I'll have to cause alarm and worry to the good folk of Newbiggin by wandering round the graveyard to get a suitable local exemplar, I could always do it late on and leave a company sign at the gate - Burke and Hare Inc. Professional Lichenometrists Devil

I'm hoping some AN worthy has had a go at this already and can give suitable advise and guidance, even if it's only directional.

Jim
IP: 147.147.16.38
legendrider

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Lichen as guide to chronology
Posted: 02/12/2017 14:35:15
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having a laboratory-based background, issues such as robustness and scope of method, calibration, repeatability and repeatability are the first things I think about in such cases.

One forensic application I can foresee is to determine the last time a particularly tight mate opened his wallet to buy a round.... Tongue

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PeteJ

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Joined: 12/05/2008
Location: Frosterley, Durham

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Lichen as guide to chronology
Posted: 02/12/2017 14:57:37
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Dr Janet Simkin of Newcastle University has done a lot of work on lichens on mine sites in the North Pennines: janet.simkin@ncl.ac.uk

She may be able to help.

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Pete Jackson Frosterley 01388527532
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Jim MacPherson

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Lichen as guide to chronology
Posted: 02/12/2017 15:26:38
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PeteJ wrote:

Dr Janet Simkin of Newcastle University has done a lot of work on lichens on mine sites in the North Pennines: janet.simkin@ncl.ac.uk

She may be able to help.


Hi Pete,

I think we've arranged a meeting with her at some time, probably next year now, I'd quite like to get some additional information beforehand, particularly as I'm going to the specific site next week so I might get some photos of the possible culprits.

Jim
IP: 147.147.16.38
John Lawson

Joined: 09/12/2010
Location: Castle Douglas Dumfries & Galloway

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Lichen as guide to chronology
Posted: 02/12/2017 22:26:29
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I always, understand that lichens were used to measure air pollution.
However on one occasion Robert & I were parked outside Rampgill mine entrance when a guy came up and took a few samples from the lichens growing next to Capelcleugh mine entrance.
He was, I think from Newcastle University as well, so clearly they have been, pretty actively involved in working with these plants in the N.Pennines.
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B175

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Joined: 06/11/2016
Location: Exeter, Devon, UK

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Lichen as guide to chronology
Posted: 03/12/2017 14:03:07
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I would think that telegraph poles - for instance - would be difficult to date by lichen growth. It would depend on the extent and "quality" of the creosote that inevitably would have been used, and which would have had to have degraded sufficiently for any life to appear on the surface.

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