Is Permafrost Really Permanent?
Brain stuff lauren Bogle bomb here in two thousand ten. A woolly mammoth carcass was discovered in Siberia near the coast of the laptev sea nicknamed Yuka. This specimen of the long extinct beast died around twenty eight thousand years ago yet her body was astonishingly well preserved complete with patches of reddened for brain that was largely intact and nucleus like cell structures so how did her body lasts so long without rotting away the short answer is Yuka was frozen but not inside some glacier iceberg after death you can became encased in a layer of what's known as permafrost. Let's break down what that is as we know. Water freezes at thirty two degrees Fahrenheit four zero degrees Celsius permafrost is any ground materials such as soil sediment and rock that remains at or below freezing temperatures for at least two consecutive years. It's about twenty five percent of all the land area in the Northern Hemisphere is known to contain permafrost. It was American paleontologist Simone W Mueller who originally coined the term permafrost appointment two of the words permanent and frost despite that name permafrost doesn't last forever thanks to climate change. It's been been thawing in large quantities. This has serious ramifications for the environment and the economy generally speaking permafrost tends to occur in places where The average air temperature is zero degree Celsius or lower every year. According to the national snow and Ice Data Center most of the Northern Hemisphere's permafrost sits between the high high latitudes of sixty and sixty degrees north Siberia Canada Alaska and parts of Scandinavia are loaded with this frigid turf further south permafrost tends to be found in high elevation areas like the Tibetan Plateau and this was elps permafrost isn't as widespread below the equator but it does underlie parts of New Zealand the Andes Mountains and Arctic adjust as its locations vary so does its composition. It's not uniform. Some sections are ice-free while others are made up of more than thirty percent ice likewise the depth age and extent of permafrost. Ken Vary widely oftentimes permafrost permafrost sits beneath an active layer of ground that is a layer that thaws and re freezes seasonally. The permafrost itself can measure anywhere from less than three feet. That's one meter thick to more than five thousand feet or fifteen hundred meters thick and it can get Patchy Northern Alaska occupies a continuous permafrost zone that means permafrost underlies more than ninety percent of the local terrain but at lower latitudes. It's a different story pretty much everything south of the Brooks mountain range sits discontinuance tenuous permafrost zone here permafrost resides under a smaller percentage of the land surface. That's partially because as counter intuitive as it may sound snow. Snow is a really good insulator so when thick blankets of snow stick around all year long they might keep the ground too warm for permafrost likewise in spots. That's where permafrost already exists insulating layers of surface level snow are liable to heat it up but while snows and impediment. Pete is a boon widespread in and around the southern Arctic. Pete is a kind of ground material. That's made up partially decayed organic matter like mosses or swamp plants by and large the. Ground beneath it is kept cool shielded from solar heat this pete safeguards permafrost evergreen forests lend a helping hand to their thickly thickly needled branches pine trees limit the amount of sunlight and snow that hits the surface in the process the evergreens help keep permafrost thawing so permafrost is common below the clustered pines and high elevation high altitude areas the arrangement is mutually beneficial since liquid water can't sleep through hard permafrost. I it acts like a drainage barrier unfrozen water. That's absorbed into the active layer gets trapped. They're barred from travelling deeper into the earth. This water sustained some of the plants that live at the surface although not all permafrost sticks around more than a couple of years some is quite old at minimum. The permafrost in prudhoe Bay Alaska is thought thought to be five hundred thousand years of age and some of the permafrost beneath the Canadians Yukon territory could be more than seven hundred thousand years old inside the ladder scientists. It is found in ancient horse leg complete d._N._A.. Samples Permafrost can keep all kinds of organic matter preserved over long periods of time in two thousand twelve Russian scientists is regenerated live plants from ice age fruits that have been encased in permafrost for about thirty thousand years unfortunately as permafrost thaws the trapped organic organic material decomposes releasing carbon and methane into the atmosphere those gases exacerbate climate change and the bad news is according to a twenty nineteen can study published in nature communications various permafrost deposits around the world have warmed up by a couple of degrees between the years two thousand seven and two thousand sixteen right now approximately one point seven billion tons of carbon is trapped in permafrost scientists. Don't know how much of this will be released into the atmosphere. If current trends continue continue or how quickly it will In the city of New Orleans gresh alone more than one hundred residential buildings have been damaged because the one solid permafrost beneath them is softening the warming permafrost has has also triggered landslides drained lakes and torn roads apart. It's yet another reason to be concerned about our contributions to climate change but to end on a positive note remember the woolly mammoth Yuga found in Siberian permafrost in two thousand ten. She was so well preserved that an early twenty nineteen scientists were able to extract eighty eight eight nucleus like structures from her cells an attempt to coax them back to life. The team injected the nuclei into mouse ovarian cells and while the cells never fully divided divided they did complete the process called spindle assembly which is a step where chromosomes attached to spindle structures before the parent cell breaks into two daughter cells. Perhaps as genetics progresses will be able to help the process