The Ages of Peat Deposits


DR. W. H. PEARSALL'S article on this subject in NATURE of December 6 refers to the absence of definite foiest layers in the Pennine peat, in contrast to the peat with tree layers described by Lewis and others. Dr. Pearsall appears to have overlooked the fact, however, that both the age and composition of mountain peat may differ considerably from that of marsh peat, in which tree layers are invariably found, and the presumption is that the Pennine peat to which he refers belongs to the former class. The absence of tree layers in mountain peat is general throughout Ireland, whatever it may be elsewhere. This is due, not to the elevation at which it is formed, but to the stratum on which it rests, and which is invariably a surface soil, not always waterlogged, but deficient in lime and other alkaline bases, and on which the ordinary decomposition of humus is retarded or checked altogether. Tree stumps of Scots pine and birch, and more rarely oak, occur under the mountain peat up to elevations of 1500 feet to 2000 feet, and in situations where trees could not attain a similar size or rate of growth to-day.

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FORBES, A. The Ages of Peat Deposits. Nature 115, 117 (1925) doi:10.1038/115117a0

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