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Carbon Isotopic Composition of Deep Carbon Gases in an Ombrogenous Peatland, Northwestern Ontario, Canada

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 July 2016

Ramon Aravena
Affiliation:
Centre for Groundwater Research and Wetlands Research Centre, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1
B. G. Warner
Affiliation:
Wetlands Research Centre and Department of Geography, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1
D. J. Charman
Affiliation:
Department of Geographical Sciences, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, Devon PL4 8AA, United Kingdom
L. R. Belyea
Affiliation:
School of Biological Sciences, Queen Mary and Westfield College, London E1 4NS, United Kingdom
S. P. Mathur
Affiliation:
75 Foxleigh Crescent, Kanata, Ontario, Canada K2M 1V6
Henri Dinel
Affiliation:
Centre for Land and Biological Resources Research, Research Branch, Agriculture Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1A 0C6
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Abstract

Radiocarbon dating and carbon isotope analyses of deep peat and gases in a small ombrogenous peatland in northwestern Ontario reveals the presence of old gases at depth that are 1000–2000 yr younger than the enclosing peat. We suggest that the most likely explanation to account for this age discrepancy is the downward movement by advection of younger dissolved organic carbon for use by fermentation and methanogens bacteria. This study identifies a potentially large supply of old carbon gases in peatlands that should be considered in global carbon models of the terrestrial biosphere.

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Copyright © The American Journal of Science 

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