Mammoth mercury reserves discovered under a subsurface soil layer remaining beneath freezing point all through the year, especially in polar regions.
A team of researchers have unearthed Arctic permafrost containing massive quantity of natural mercury in the area of northern hemisphere. The research evidence has significant implications over the worldwide ecosystems as well as human health as gigantic mercury exposure, as just a little amount of substance can trigger critical health issues.
A leading author of the study and hydrologist, Paul Schuster from the US Geological Survey in Boulder, Colorado said in a statement that, “This is a game changing discovery. We have quantified a pool of mercury that had not been done previously, and the results have profound implications for better understanding the global mercury cycle.”
The largest ever natural mercury reserve in the globe locates at the Arctic permafrost, regarding which the researchers warn that higher air temperatures hit by climate change may defrost the current permafrost layer. Because of this, a huge amount of mercury could probably impact the worldwide ecosystems.
Approximately, 15 million gallons of mercury have been discovered in northern permafrost, which is nearly 10 times more than the entire mercury emissions caused by humans since past three decades. The study was first released in the Geophysical Research Letters, the journal of the American Geophysical Union.
Schuster added that, “There would be no environmental problem if everything remained frozen, but we know the Earth is getting warmer. Although measurement of the rate of permafrost thaw was not part of this study, the thawing permafrost provides a potential for mercury to be released that’s just physics.”