Hyde Park Mastodon Research: Charcoal

By applying different acid washes to the sediment from Lozier Pond at Hyde Park, fragments of ancient charcoal can be isolated. By counting the charcoal fragments, like the one seen above, we will be able to understand how important forest fires caused by lightening strikes were at the time the mastodon lived. Put simply, the more forest fires, the drier the climate at the time. This relationship can be made more complex by changes in local hydrology, upland plant ecologies, and human influenced fires. However, charcoal, when studied in tandem with pollen records and changes in core stratigraphy, can be a valuable tool in understanding the history of an ancient lake.