Staining of Timber in the Mount St. Helens Mudflows

Barry S. Goodell, Helmuth Resch, B. Alan Bendtsen


A discolored ring of wood was observed in standing dead Douglas-fir trees that were in the path of the Mount St. Helens volcano mudflows. Frequently, this stain occurred only in the inner sapwood of the trees so that an outer ring of unstained wood was left. Chemical analysis confirmed that the stain was caused by iron infiltration of the wood. The hypothesis that mudflow heat inactivated translocation mechanisms in the tree and prohibited the transport of iron through the outer sapwood could not be proved.



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