Identifying Past Fire Events

I.J. Glasspool, Andrew C. Scott

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)


Fire has been an important element of the Earth system since the Silurian Period, when vascular plants first evolved and spread on land. Our understanding of the fossil record of fire comes from a diversity of fire residues and fire signals including charcoal (both macroscopic and microscopic), soot and black carbon, polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and evidence of fire scars in tree rings. However, it is the use of macroscopic charcoal that has proved most useful in the recognition of deep time fire activity and forms the major focus of this chapter. In identifying past fire events more detailed study of charcoal can yield a wide range of data. Other topics covered are charcoal sedimentation, the impacts of fire on run-off and erosion, and stand replacement events.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFire Phenomena and the Earth System: An Interdisciplinary Guide to Fire Science
EditorsC.M. Belcher
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9781118529539
ISBN (Print)9780470657485
Publication statusPublished - 9 Apr 2013


  • Fire

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