Peat Bog the Size of England Discovered
Congolese find is some 23 feet deep
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted May 27, 2014 1:13 PM CDT
A screen shot from BBC video of the find.   (BBC video)

(Newser) – The Republic of the Congo is home to a peat bog the size of England—but experts have only just discovered it. "There are parts of the planet that are still uncharted territory," says a scientist involved in the exploration of the site. "Few people venture into these swamps, as they are quite difficult places to move around in." The areas are only walkable for "a couple of months a year, right at the end of the dry season," Dr. Simon Lewis adds. Not only did his crew have to deal with wet feet during their three-week trek: They also faced gorillas, crocodiles, and elephants en route, and had to build platforms whenever they wanted to set up camp, reports the Guardian.

Satellite photos suggested the bog's existence, but it was the researchers' journey that confirmed it. The bog has an area of between 40,000 and 80,000 square miles, and its peat is as much as 23 feet deep. The result is billions of tons of the stuff, the BBC reports. Because peat is typically "a big carbon sink," Lewis says, scientists want to learn more about how the giant bog has affected the world's climate. They're bringing samples to Britain for analysis, which could reveal new information about a changing climate over 10,000 years. Interesting side note: Less than 3% of the planet's land is covered in peat, but those lands could house twice the carbon that all of Earth's forests do.

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Showing 3 of 21 comments
Haiquan Ma
May 27, 2014 9:22 PM CDT
A peat bog, big enough for England to fit in...that is nothing. Afghanistan is (and still) one huge quagmire (discovered, after 9/11)..big enough for the US to swallow through.
FarmerMichael
May 27, 2014 7:29 PM CDT
Fuel? Come now, no gardeners out there? Peat is a wonderful soil conditioner. If you want Africa to be able to take clay soils and turn them into food, peat is the ticket. Only very poor folks used peat as fuel, just like folks in the midwest used sod for houses (few do any more...) And of course, one of the most wonderful way peat is used is to strain whiskey into sherry barrels, then gut rot turns into scotch....
Robert Nieves
May 27, 2014 6:22 PM CDT
Just what we need more fuel to burn