Surface deformations as indicators of deep ebullition fluxes in a large northern peatland

Global Biogeochemical Cycles
By: , and 


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Peatlands deform elastically during precipitation cycles by small (??3 cm) oscillations in surface elevation. In contrast, we used a Global Positioning System network to measure larger oscillations that exceeded 20 cm over periods of 4-12 hours during two seasonal droughts at a bog and fen site in northern Minnesota. The second summer drought also triggered 19 depressuring cycles in an overpressured stratum under the bog site. The synchronicity between the largest surface deformations and the depressuring cycles indicates that both phenomena are produced by the episodic release of large volumes of gas from deep semi-elastic compartments confined by dense wood layers. We calculate that the three largest surface deformations were associated with the release of 136 g CH4 m-2, which exceeds by an order of magnitude the annual average chamber fluxes measured at this site. Ebullition of gas from the deep peat may therefore be a large and previously unrecognized source of radiocarbon depleted methane emissions from northern peatlands. Copyright 2004 by the American Geophysical Union.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Surface deformations as indicators of deep ebullition fluxes in a large northern peatland
Series title Global Biogeochemical Cycles
Volume 18
Issue 1
Year Published 2004
Language English
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Global Biogeochemical Cycles
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