This peatland complex stretches to the south of the Alaska Range out near Petersville, Alaska. It’s a neat peatland, because while it’s not in the mountains, it’s not exactly lowland, either…it’s covering old moraines and somewhat sloping, which may suggest that the region receives a lot of moisture from the atmosphere, since it’s so waterlogged. It also has a significant (30-50cm thick) tephra layer about 1-2 m below the surface, which may actually act as a confining layer to keep the area waterlogged. This site is mostly being studied to determine if increased moisture from glacial meltwater may be playing a role in peatland expansion.
This gas flux chamber rests on the tundra at a remote field site on the northern Seward Peninsula. During the summer, tundra gases are mesured coming out of the floating vegetation mats on thermokarst lakes, recently drained lake basins, and low and high center polygons. Because of the remoteness of the site, data is only able to be collected during summer months, but the fluxes are highest from floating vegetation mats on thermokarst lakes, fueled by high plant productivity. Further study is underway to determine radiocarbon ages on the methane to see if the flux is mostly from recently fixed carbon (from recent plant material) or from older carbon that was locked in the permafrost.