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Biogeochemistry

, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp 277–302 | Cite as

Peat and water chemistry at Big Run Bog, a peatland in the Appalachian mountains of West Virginia, USA

  • R. Kelman Wieder
Article

Abstract

At Big Run Bog, aSphagnum-dominated peatland in the unglaciated Appalachian Plateau of West Virginia, significant spatial variation in the physical and chemical properties of the peat and in surface and subsurface (30 cm deep) water chemistry was characterized. The top 40 cm of organic peat at Big Run Bog had average values for bulk density of 0.09 g · cm−3, organic matter concentration of 77%, and volumetric water content of 88%. Changes in physical and chemical properties within the peat column as a function of depth contributed to different patterns of seasonal variation in the chemistry of surface and subsurface waters. Seasonal variation in water chemistry was related to temporal changes in plant uptake, organic matter decomposition and element mineralization, and to varying redox conditions associated with fluctuating water table levels. On the average, total Ca, Mg, and N concentrations in Big Run Bog peat were 33, 15, and 1050 μmol · g−1, respectively; exchangeable Ca and Mg concentrations were 45 and 14 μeq · g−1 , respectively. Surface water pH averaged 4.0 and Ca++ concentrations were less than 50 μeq · L−1 . These chemical variables have all been used to distinguish bogs from fens. Physiographically, Big Run Bog is a minerotrophic fen because it receives inputs of water from the surrounding forested upland areas of its watershed. However, chemically, Big Run Bog is more similar to true ombrotrophic bogs than to minerotrophic fens.

Keywords

Appalachian mountains biogeochemistry peat Sphagnum water chemistry West Virginia wetlands 

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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff/Dr W. Junk Publishers 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Kelman Wieder
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyWest Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA

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