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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Tundra Turns to Jelly

Tundra Turns to Jelly

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Friday, July 22, 2016/Categories: natural history, photography, sustainability, environment, climate change

Parts of the Arcitc tundra in Siberia have begun to turn into "jelly" as the permafrost beneath melts. Sub-soils that have been frozen solid since the Pleistocene ice ages are finally beginning to turn liquid.

This symptom of a rapidly changing climate in the Arctic also holds the potential for release of masses of stored carbon. The unfrozen soil, rich in semi-decomposed carbon peat, is exposed to soil bacteria and fungi and begins rottting. The decomposition of all the dead and previously frozen plant material releases methane in the process. An example from above the Arctic Circle in Russia was captured here:

The Russians have also discovered "pockets" of methane collecting under the tundra that have even erupted explosively. According to the Siberian Times, these explosions have been heard up to 60 miles away with local villagers have seen the skies glow. Methane is 4-times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas so this melting permafrost is of critical concern if it turns from a local event into a regional or polar-wide one.



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