EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Reconstructing snow-avalanche activity with tree rings in Maramureş Mountains (Eastern Carpathians, Romania)

Armelle Decaulne1, Ionela-Georgiana Răchită2, Mihai Hotea3, Vasile Timur Chiş4, and Olimpiu Traian Pop2
Armelle Decaulne et al.
  • 1CNRS LETG-Nantes, Nantes, France (
  • 2Laboratory of Dendrochronology, Faculty of Geography, Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania (,
  • 3Faculty of Geography, Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania (
  • 4Faculty of Geography, Tourism and Sports, University of Oradea, Romania (

Snow avalanches represent a common phenomenon in Maramureş Mountains (Eastern Carpathians, Romania) where they occur frequently on higher steep slopes and reach in the runout zones the valley bottoms below 1000 m a.s.l. The presence of particular topo-climatic conditions influences the patterns of avalanche activity in terms of past frequency and spatial extent along the slope valleys. As the past snow-avalanche activity is not documented by written reports in the area, reliable information about avalanche history is missing. However, the slopes are forested, trees repeatedly disturbed by snow avalanches record evidence of past events. For this study we reconstructed the avalanche activity using tree rings as a source of proxy data. To date the snow-avalanche history, dendrochronological investigations have been carried out in two avalanche paths, along which living trees showed clear external signs of past disturbances related to mechanical impacts produced by snow avalanches. In each investigated path, a total number of 52 and respectively 118 trees have been sampled and their spatial position recorded with a GPS device. Tree-growth anomalies (e.g. scars, callus tissues, the onset sequences of tangential rows of traumatic resin ducts, compression wood, growth suppression and release sequences) related to snow avalanche disturbance identified within tree rings served to reconstruct past events with an annual resolution. The results indicate that, apart the 2005 major event witnessed and also confirmed by tree-ring dating, multiple other events have been reconstructed since the beginning of 20th century. Despite some inherent limitations of tree-ring methods in reconstructing past avalanche events, these dendrochronological investigations confirm their utility in deciphering the patterns of avalanche activity in Maramureş Mountains. Tree-ring studies contribute to a better understanding of the role of topographical and climatic factors which influence the spatio-temporal occurrence of snow avalanches.

This study represents a contribution to the joint research project 09-AUF, ‘‘Activité des avalanches de neige dans les Carpates Orientales Roumaines et Ukrainiennes - ACTIVNEIGE’’, co-funded by the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF) and Institutul de Fizică Atomică (IFA), Romania.

How to cite: Decaulne, A., Răchită, I.-G., Hotea, M., Chiş, V. T., and Pop, O. T.: Reconstructing snow-avalanche activity with tree rings in Maramureş Mountains (Eastern Carpathians, Romania), EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-20060,, 2020

Display materials

Display file

Comments on the display material

AC: Author Comment | CC: Community Comment | Report abuse

Display material version 1 – uploaded on 06 May 2020, no comments