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Earth’s soil harbours ancient carbon

Organic carbon in the top metre of Earth’s soils is far older than previously thought, averaging 4,800 years old. These radiocarbon-derived age estimates require us to recalibrate our expectations of ecosystem gains and losses of carbon.

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Fig. 1: A Mollisol soil profile.

Sharon A. Billings


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Correspondence to Sharon A. Billings.

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Billings, S.A., de Souza, L.F.T. Earth’s soil harbours ancient carbon. Nat. Geosci. 13, 527–528 (2020).

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