Study: Wildfires Unleash Sequestered Mercury In Wetlands

Read the full story in Environmental Protection magazine.

Wildfires are waking a dangerous sleeping giant in the most northern wetlands of North America — mercury, researchers said on Aug. 21.

Released into the atmosphere most prodigiously with the launching of the industrial age, the toxic element falls back onto Earth, and accumulates particularly in North American wetlands. A Michigan State University (MSU) researcher — working closely with the U.S. Geological Survey — finds wildfires, growing more frequent and intense, are unleashing this sequestered mercury at levels up to 15 times greater than originally calculated.

The full citation for the article is:

Turetsky, Merritt R.; Harden, Jennifer W.; Friedli, Hans R.; Flannigan, Mike; Payne, Nicholas; Crock, James; Radke, Lawrence. “Wildfires threaten mercury stocks in northern soils.” Geophysical Research Letters 33(16), L16403.

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