A Cosmic Ray Event Points to Viking Landing in Canada

The items studied by Dee and her colleagues, obtained from L’Anse aux Meadows decades ago and carefully preserved in a freezer at a storage facility at Parks Canada in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, which is completely hit by the bill. They included a tree stump that could have been pulled from the ground as the ground around the Viking area was cleared – and where, critically, there was no need for its “skin edge”. Since there are 28 rings from the carbon-spike ring to the edge, cutting the wood can be traced back to AD 1021. (The fact that it was exactly 1,000 years ago is just a coincidence, even if one you are hospitable, as Dee.)

The team of Dutch, German, and Canadian scientists, led by Dee and her Groningen colleague Margot Kuitems, published their study on NATURE on October 20. One of their colleagues was Birgitta Wallace, a Canadian archaeologist who had worked in the area since 1960. Dee assured Wallace, who was already in her late seventies, with a presence. in mind to preserve the wood pieces used in the present study. “A lot of people would have just given up on it. But he thought that science would one day have something useful for them, and put it in the freezer to protect them well for 40 years,” he said.

“It’s a very nice paper-it’s exactly dating this tree,” said Timothy Jull, a radiocarbon dating expert at the University of Arizona, who was not involved in the current study. In the past, studies were used dendrochronology—The science of determining the age of a tree from the opposite growth rate recorded in its rings-requires comparisons involving multiple tree trunks, in order to calm a new sample and provide a (often quite harsh) estimate of its age. “But in this case, they don’t have to do that, because there’s this spike that tells exactly where they are. [in the timeline]. That’s what makes it such a great study, ”Jull said.

Scientists have long believed that the more powerful particles produced by solar activity and other astrophysical sources such as supernovae arrive on Earth in a much less constant stream. That means that the ratio of carbon-14 to its stable cousins ​​has always continued over time. But in 2012, a Japanese physicist, Fusa Miyake, found trees with a The carbon-14 spike from AD 774 to 775. Scientists now believe there has been a handful of these explosions of particles with high energy over the past 10,000 years.

Because these events are so rare, researchers like Dee and her colleagues are confident that they’re not only looking at a random carbon-14 spike, but one specific thing-which means they can be confident. on the date they attached it. Other spikes, while, can be used to pinpoint other historical events. (The same method was used recently to pinpoint the date when a medieval church was built in Switzerland, from a study of roof beams.)

Remains of a Viking structure at L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site in Newfoundland.

Photo: Dan Falk

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