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The effect of peat structure on the spatial distribution of biogenic gases within bogs

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • Xavier Comas
  • Nicholas Kettridge
  • Andrew Binley
  • Lee Slater
  • Andrew Parsekian
  • Andy J. Baird
  • Maria Strack
  • James M. Waddington
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/11/2014
<mark>Journal</mark>Hydrological Processes
Issue number22
Number of pages12
Pages (from-to)5483-5494
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date6/09/13
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Northern peatlands are a large source of atmospheric methane (CH4) and both a source and a sink of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). The rate and temporal variability in gas exchanges with peat soils is directly related to the spatial distribution of these free-phase gases within the peat column. In this paper, we present results from surface and borehole ground-penetrating radar surveys - constrained with direct soil and gas sampling - that compare the spatial distribution of gas accumulations in two raised bogs: one in Wales (UK), the other in Maine (USA). Although the two peatlands have similar average thickness, physical properties of the peat matrix differ, particularly in terms of peat type and degree of humification. We hypothesize that these variations in physical properties are responsible for the differences in gas distribution between the two peatlands characterized by (1) gas content up to 10.8% associated with woody peat and presence of wood layers in Caribou Bog (Maine) and (2) a more homogenous distribution with gas content up to 5.7% at the surface (i.e.