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The Melting Of Arctic Permafrost Could Release a
There’s a ticking time bomb composed of Mercury hidden beneath our planets Permafrost. Scientists warn that climate change could accelerate the release of toxic Mercury, and it’s worrying.
Despite the fact that Mercury has a lot of good uses, its toxic to humans and animals and can pose a great threat to our planet’s ecosystems.
As melting permafrost releases mercury, eventually some of it will make it into the food chain—and into animals such as the Alaskan caribou. As noted by National Geographic, “in some forms, mercury is a powerful neurotoxin, and in children it can harm brain development, affecting cognition, memory, language and even motor and visual skills. Even in adults, excessive amounts can hamper vision, speech and muscle movements, compromise the reproductive and immune systems, and cause cardiovascular problems.”
If global warming ends up melting the permafrost—the permanently frozen surface layer of the northern hemisphere—it could trigger a global ecological catastrophe, since this area contains more than 15 million gallons (58 million liters) of mercury buried according to a group of researchers.
This is a worrisome fact because this is roughly twice as much mercury as can be found in the rest of Earth’s soils, ocean and atmosphere combined, reports Live Science.
Concentrations of mercury in the Northern Hemisphere, in four soil layers. (Credit: Schuster et al./GRL/AGU.)
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