Date published:

What do glaciers have in common with coal?

New findings with Prof Witold Szczuciński on the carbon cycle in nature were published in Nature Geoscience!

Glaciers erode rocks and transport them to fjords. These rocks, especially sedimentary rocks, often contain carbon. It was thought, that this carbon is not used by organisms and gets buried with the sediments at the bottom of the fjords without any significant effect on the carbon balance in the seas and in the atmosphere.

However, the latest research results of a German - Norwegian - Polish team of scientists (Manuel Ruben, Gesine Mollenhauer and co-authors) indicate that microbes living in sediments at the bottom of the fjords can use petrogenic carbon for their purposes, causing it to be reintegrated into the biological cycle of the element.

The research was conducted using cores of sediment taken from the bottom of Hornsund Fjord (Spitsbergen). The researchers used sediment cores dated with the isotopes 137Cs and 210Pb, and a full spectrum of studies of different forms of carbon, its compounds and carbon isotopic composition.

The project was partly funded by the National Science Centre under a grant headed by Prof Witold Szczuciński from the Faculty of Geographical and Geological Sciences.

We congratulate Prof. Szczuciński and wish him further research success ☺️

Those interested in the discovery are invited to read more.