Crossdating Tree Rings

Using Skeleton Plotting

Welcome to the web presentation on crossdating tree rings by skeleton plotting:

  • Produced at the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, The University of Arizona, Tucson
    • Author: Research Specialist Senior Paul R. Sheppard
    • Principal Investigators: Director Malcolm K. Hughes and Associate Professor Thomas W. Swetnam
  • Objective: To inform about dendrochronological crossdating using skeleton plots
  • Note: Other ways exist to crossdate; visit the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research for more information
Important Point: This presentation has Java-language applets:

How to best use this presentation:
There are 13 inter-linked explanatory web pages, all of which:
1.Introduction This page – getting started
2.Dendrochronology Applications Why dendrochronology is done
3.Crossdating Application An example of dating a past event with crossdating
4.Ring-Growth Anomalies Ring counting is not adequate – crossdating is better
5.Sensitivity-Complacency Highly variable ring growth versus no variation
6.Skeleton Plotting Making marks on the skeleton plot
7.Relative Scale Standardizing the scale of ring growth with graph paper
8.Master Chronology What the master dendrochronology is
9.Pattern Matching Matching a skeleton plot with a master chronology
10.Finding the Dates Determining actual year dates of formation of every ring
11.Absent/False Rings Marking ring-growth anomalies on the skeleton plot
12.Try Skeleton Plotting for Yourself! The interactive Java-language applet
13.Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research More links to the world of dendrochronology
Cruise these pages in the order given OR in the order of your own interest
Note to Teachers:

Paul R. Sheppard
Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, The University of Arizona
Tucson, Arizona 85721 USA
office: (520) 621-6474, fax: (520) 621-8229
Comments to: sheppard @