Radiocarbon data from clam shells are telling the story of the Atlantic Ocean’s past. Off the coast of Maine, clams can live up to 240 years, year after year adding another band to their shells, just like a tree adds another growth ring.
In the colder waters of the North Atlantic near Iceland, the clams can live up to 500 years, recording even more information in what scientists call annual shell increments.
It turns out those shell increments are a lot like sensors at the bottom of the ocean—they record long records of information about the ocean, say researchers at Iowa State.
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Photo credit: Alan Wanamaker/Iowa State