Using light to describe the ancient world

Pine resin hardens to form amber, and can be diagnosed using Infrared spectroscopy. Image from Wikimedia Commons (details below).

Gums and resins “exuded” by seed-bearing plants (Gymnosperms) are compositionally distinct, and can be diagnosed using infrared (IR) spectroscopy. Ralf Tappert and colleagues used IR spectroscopy to distinguish the resin produced by pine trees (Pinaceae) from other conifers, and provided identities for gums and other resins as well. Exuded resin hardens into amber and survives through geologic time. Tappert et al. (2011) have therefore provided a method for identifying fossil pine forests.

Tappert R, Wolfe AP, McKellar RC, Tappert MC and Muehlenbachs K (2011). Characterizing Modern and Fossil Gymnosperm Exudates Using Micro-Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy. International Journal of Plant Sciences 172: 120-138.

Image link: resin


Comments on: "#News: Fossil pine forests" (2)

  1. Hello, I just found this little write up on your blog. (Thanks to Google.) Thanks for your interest in our research!!


  2. […] have, on two previous occasions, described spectroscopy studies of amber. I freely admit I have a fascination with amber, […]

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