While oil, coal, and natural gas are exported around the world, few outside northern Europe are aware of this energy source.In certain circumstances, peat can be an early stage in coal formation. composed of living or once-living material. After the glaciers melted, the water runoff filled in these areas. Water sources and chemistry influence the type and decomposition of vegetation in peat ecosystems like bogs and fens, from which peat is harvested. type of fossil fuel made up mostly of the gas methane. Dried peat burns readily with a smoky flame and a characteristic odour. If a media asset is downloadable, a download button appears in the corner of the media viewer. Arizona’s right to use water from this river stems from the Colorado Compact, an agreement established in 1922. Access, or the lack thereof, contributes to a place’s economic development, political relationships, and culture. Bogs are a type of wetland with a high acid content. Get full address, contact info, background report and more! chemical compound that reacts with a base to form a salt. © 1996 - 2020 National Geographic Society. With increased time and higher temperatures, these low-rank coals are gradually converted to subbituminous and bituminous coal and under certain conditions to anthracite. Northern Europe, particularly Scandinavia and the British Isles, have the most peatlands harvested for fuel use. Peat may be distinguished from lower-ranked coals on the basis of four characteristics: peats generally contain free cellulose, more than 75 percent moisture, and less than 60 percent carbon, and they can be cut with a knife. It is also added to potting mixes to meet the acidity requirements of certain potted plants. Peat moss (Sphagnum) is one of the most common constituents of peat. Updates? The formation of abundant peat was not possible before land plants spread widely during and after the Devonian Period (beginning approximately 419.2 million years ago). Variations in climate, hydrology, native species, and other factors result in the considerable variety of peatland communities found around the world. wetland bog from which peat has been removed by hand or industrial means. Peat can be found in moors all over the world. Availability. Also known as petroleum or crude oil. Hydraulic excavating can also be used, particularly in bogs that contain roots and tree trunks. The remains were found on 1 August 1984 by commercial peat cutters. Even though peat bogs cover largeareas of Finland, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, and Sweden, many areconcernedthere about over-harvest, depletion, and using alternativesinstead. Common in cool, wet parts of the world, bogs are waterlogged grounds that form when decaying plant matter — known as peat — accumulates in a low-lying areas. granular particles of peat scraped from the surface of a bog and mixed with other materials by special machinery. Peat itselfforms at a rate of an inch every 15 to 25 years. If no button appears, you cannot download or save the media. Harvesting peat moss. Sphagnum moss grows most commonly in bogs, which are essentially deep, wet marshes. Peat definition, a highly organic material found in marshy or damp regions, composed of partially decayed vegetable matter: it is cut and dried for use as fuel. Peat is formed from the residues of dead plants whose aerial organs have become humified and mineralized in the aerated surface stratum of a bog (the peat-producing horizon) by soil invertebrates, bacteria, and fungi. Privacy Notice |  Mention "peat moss" and many people will conjure up the curly brown plant material that gardeners use. Areas of harvested peatlands are called cutaway bogs for this reason. This change in climate helped facilitate the formation of the large peatlands we see today. The bodies of two Iron Age murder victims have been recovered from peat bogs in Ireland. Peatification is influenced by several factors, including the nature of the plant material deposited, the availability of nutrients to support bacterial life, the availability of oxygen, the acidity of the peat, and temperature. WHERE IS IT FROM? Find Lascelles Peat in the United States. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Peat bog near Enschede, Overijssel province, Netherlands. having to do with factories or mechanical production. Like all wetlands, bogs are inhabited by marshy plants, including trees, grasses, and moss. Finland, Ireland, and Scotland are the biggest consumers of peat as a fuel. Peats may be divided into several types, including fibric, coarse hemic, hemic, fine hemic, and sapric, based on their macroscopic, microscopic, and chemical characteristics. It is the precursor material from which coals are derived, and the process by which peat is formed is studied in existing swamps in many parts of the…, For centuries hand-cut peat, or turf, was the rural population’s principal domestic fuel. Peat, fuel consisting of spongy material formed by the partial decomposition of organic matter, primarily plant material, in wetlands such as swamps, muskegs, bogs, fens, and moors. In horticulture, peat is used to increase the moisture-holding capacity of sandy soils and to increase the water infiltration rate of clay soils. Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. Peat may be found throughout Florida. coal, oil, or natural gas. Minnesota's peatlands began to form 5-6,000 years ago when the climate cooled and precipitation increased significantly. Peat is only a minor contributor to the world energy supply, but large deposits occur in Canada, China, Indonesia, Russia, Scandinavia, and the United States. Bogs are usually found in cool climates and often in lake basins created by ice age glaciers that … The peat buried the remains of the Neolithic farms - at the Ceide Fields, county Mayo, Neolithic field walls have been found under a blanket bog. Peat is formed from the residues of dead plants whose aerial organs have become humified and mineralized in the aerated surface stratum of a bog (the peat-producing horizon) by soil invertebrates, bacteria, and fungi. Peat mosses are commonly found in bogs and wetlands of the northern hemisphere of the earth. Also called a cutover bog. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Peat Bogs. On the other side of the spectrum, the desert southwestern region of the United States depends on the Central Arizona Project canals to transport water from the Colorado River in order to support agriculture and urban areas. For example, the Great Plains region of the United States is known for its abundance of fertile soil. For information on user permissions, please read our Terms of Service. All rights reserved. region and name for some countries in Northern Europe: Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark. Most of the time, however, peat is a unique material.Peat forms in bogs. Canada … Although they occur throughout Michigan, bogs are more numerous in the Upper Peninsula where they are found along the margins of lakes … Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. Peat has widespread use as a plant-growth medium in a variety of horticultural and agricultural applications because its fibrous structure and porosity promote a combination of water … Peat is the "forgotten fossil fuel." She or he will best know the preferred format. The ash is powdery and light, except for varieties that have a high content of inorganic matter. In the early 21st century the top four peat producers in the world were Finland, Ireland, Belarus, and Sweden, and most of the major users of peat were these and other northern European countries. Some of the world’s oldest peat bogs have very dense, seemingly endless supplies of the decaying matter, though it is also available in smaller quantities on trees, rocks, and even on top of the soil in some places. According to Xu et al. Acids can corrode some natural materials. Photo: Students probe bog for mammoth remains near Rawlins, Wyoming. Peat formation exists on all continents and at all latitudes, including tropical marshes and swamps. (2018), the majority of the worlds peatlands are situated in Asia (38.4%) and North America (31.6%, mostly Canada & Alaska). layers of partially decayed organic material found in some wetlands. Although peat is not strictly a fossil fuel, its greenhouse gas emissions are comparable to that of fossil fuels. Peat is only a minor contributor to the world energy supply, but large deposits occur in Canada, China, Indonesia, Russia, Scandinavia, and the United States. Peat formation is influenced by moisture and temperature. Some countries in Europe – including Finland, Ireland and the UK – are contenders, but don’t operate commercial peat extraction on quite the same scale. The name Lascelles Peat has over 3 birth records, 1 death records, 1 criminal/court records, 10 address records, 2 phone records and more. This is called milled peat. Found one of the many blanket bogs covering Scotland. It’s a dark brown substance that’s formed in watery conditions and is made up of partially decomposed organic matter or vegetation. The bricks are then used as fuel, mostly for heating homes and businesses.Northern Europe, particularly Scandinavia and the British Isles, have the most peatlands harvested for fuel use. These are soils high in organic matter content. Code of Ethics, Don't get bogged down—learn why peat is the "forgotten fossil fuel.". 1145 17th Street NW But it is also found throughout Ireland, northern England, Scandinavia, and parts of Russia and the U.S. The pulp is cut into blocks, which are spread to dry. Peatlands and bogs can predominantly be found in Canada and Russia, where the majority of the world’s peat moss is extracted. The peat is washed down by a high-pressure water jet, and the pulp runs to a sump. (Today, industrial peat harvesting involves huge tractors that scrape peat from the surface of bogs. However, peat bogs can be found from Tierra del Fuego to Indonesia. Due to their poor drainage, the water has low oxygen, so it is anaerobic and has … Virtually all rural households are now connected to the national electricity network, which relies partly on hydroelectric plants and on small and medium-sized peat-burning thermal power stations. This is why the region that it’s from is so important. Different regions create different types of peat, which in turn give different flavours. Peat is usually hand-cut, although progress has been made in the excavation and spreading of peat by mechanical methods. Although peat is used as a source of energy, it is not usually considered a coal. Today, peat moss is fairly popular used as soil amendment, soilless mix, seed starting, mushroom casting, etc. Peat is an organic wetland soil made from part-decomposed plant debris, more commonly found in cool environments. We found 2 entries for Lascelles Peat in the United States. Text on this page is printable and can be used according to our Terms of Service. In the early 21st century the top four peat producers in the world were Finland, Ireland, Belarus, and Sweden, and most of the major users of peat were these and other northern European countries. Canadian peatlands formed over 10,000 years ago in very moist and poorly drained low spots such as old river beds, lakes or ponds. Peat may be cut by spade in the form of blocks, which are spread out to dry. group of islands in the Atlantic Ocean off Western Europe, including Great Britain, Ireland and several smaller islands. There, after slight maceration, it is pumped to a draining ground in a layer, which, after partial drying, is cut up and dried further. Different regions have access to different renewable or nonrenewable natural resources such as freshwater, fossil fuels, fertile soil, or timber based on their geographic location and past geologic processes. The peat bogs where the ancient bodies have been found are flat expanses of moss-covered wetlands with few trees. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. A bog is a wetland of soft, spongy ground consisting mainly of partially decayed plant matter called peat. Traditional peat harvesting involves a farmer or laborer manually cutting thick strips of peat with a large, sharp hoe. Acids have pH levels lower than 7. wetland of soft ground made mostly of decaying plant matter. However, peat bogs can be found from Tierra del Fuego to Indonesia. Some wetlands result from high groundwater levels, whereas some elevated bogs are the result of heavy rainfall. Given that peat harvesting is destructive to wetland habitats, its use as a soil amendment has been discouraged by conservationists. Although peat production was mechanized and industrialized in…. See more. The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. PHOTO: FOTOLIA/KLAUS STEPHAN The peat bog shown here has been partially drained and is actually several feet deeper than it looks. The mine boundaries can be seen through Map Direct. In one mechanized method, a dredger or excavator digs the peat from the drained bog and delivers it to a macerator (a device that softens and separates a material into its component parts through soaking), which extrudes the peat pulp through a rectangular opening. Peat is an organic wetland soil made from part-decomposed plant debris, more commonly found in cool environments, such as northern Russia, Europe and … Peat is a rich, mossy earth found in the damp, fertile landscapes of Scotland and Ireland and a natural time capsule of everything that has grown, died and decomposed in the area. The places where peat is formed, peat bogs, are found in river valleys (floodplains and terraces) and at water divides. dark, solid fossil fuel mined from the earth. Peatlands cover about 3% of the earth’s land mass; they are found in the temperate (Northern Europe and America) and tropical regions (South East Asia, South America, South Africa and the Caribbean) 1. PIC: Contributed. The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited. group of islands at the southern tip of South America. Peat can be used in water filtration and is sometimes utilized for the treatment of urban runoff, wastewater, and septic tank effluent. This scraped peat is then collected into bricks. 2. Sustainability Policy |  This partly-decayed organic material builds up in bogs. (Christian Als) Thus far, the results have proved disappointing. fossil fuel formed from the remains of marine plants and animals. If you have questions about licensing content on this page, please contact ngimagecollection@natgeo.com for more information and to obtain a license. Cool climates are usually best for sphagnum and peat. Any interactives on this page can only be played while you are visiting our website. It is also used to soften aquaria water and to mimic habitats for freshwater fish. Peat soils are classified as histosols. Peat can be dried and burned as fuel. Lindow Man, also known as Lindow II and (in jest) as Pete Marsh, is the preserved bog body of a man discovered in a peat bog at Lindow Moss near Wilmslow in Cheshire, North West England. Plant material decomposes more rapidly in groundwater rich in nutrients than in elevated bogs with heavy rainfall. National Geographic Headquarters Peat has been harvested in … When you reach out to him or her, you will need the page title, URL, and the date you accessed the resource. area of land covered by shallow water or saturated by water. Washington, DC 20036, National Geographic Society is a 501 (c)(3) organization. The head of the 'Rogart Bog Beast' found in a peat bog in Sutherland last year. Food and Agriculture Organization: Energy Use of Peat, National Geographic News: Support for Saving Peatlands Is Squishy but Solidifying, International Energy Agency: Statistics—Coal and Peat. Peat is sometimes considered a “slowly renewable energy” and is classified as a “solid fossil” rather than a biomass fuel by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Use these materials to explore the interconnected nature of resources and their distribution. A peat bog is a type of wetland whose soft, spongy ground is composed largely of living and decaying Sphagnum moss. Over millions of years, it becomes peat.Peat is thick, muddy, and, when harvested, looks like dark, earthen bricks. Omissions? )Wet bricks of raw peat are pressed to force out water. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Terms of Service |  His response: "Peat moss is a really cool plant that’s important to the global carbon cycle." The formation of peat is the first step in the formation of coal. The places where peat is formed, peat bogs, are found in river valleys (floodplains and terraces) and at water divides. As a result, its main industry is agriculture. The transition to brown coal takes place slowly and is usually reached at depths ranging from 100 to 400 metres (approximately 330 to 1,300 feet). https://www.britannica.com/technology/peat, National Geographic - Education - Peat: The Forgotten Fossil Fuel, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations - Energy Use of Peat, peatland - Children's Encyclopedia (Ages 8-11), peat - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up), Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. "Oh, the thing you get at Home Depot" is a common reaction Joel Kostka receives when he mentions that he studies peat moss. The moss grows on top of the bog, and peat is produced underneath. It can be found in many natural areas, such as bogs, moors, and peatlands. Almost all of the peat moss sold in the US come from the vast sphagnum moss area in Canada. Professor Emeritus of Geological Sciences, University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Peat is an organic material formed from the incomplete decomposition of plant matter under anaerobic conditions. The development of peat is favoured by warm moist climatic conditions; however, peat can develop even in cold regions such as Siberia, Canada, and Scandinavia. Peat is also used for household cooking in some places and has been used to produce small amounts of electricity. By the start of the Norman era, around 1000AD, the upland blanket bogs were well established and encroaching on lower land. Peat is used for domestic heating purposes as an alternative to firewood and forms a fuel suitable for boiler firing in either briquetted or pulverized form. The bog's acidity prevents this vegetation from fully decaying. 2 : partially carbonized vegetable tissue formed by partial decomposition in water of various plants (such as mosses of the genus Sphagnum) Decayed, compacted moss is known as peat, which can be harvested to use for fuel or as a soil additive. Fossil fuels formed from the remains of ancient plants and animals. You cannot download interactives. With increasing depth of burial and increasing temperature, peat deposits are gradually changed to lignite. European peatlands make up 12.5%, followed by South America (11.5%), Africa (4.4%), and Australasia and Oceania (1.6%). Finland, Ireland, and Scotland are the biggest consumers of peat as a fuel. Maceration tends to yield more uniform shrinkage and a denser and tougher fuel. Peat bogs are found throughout the world where cool temperatures and adequate rainfall prevail. The presence of oxygen (aerobic conditions) is necessary for fungal and microbial activity that promotes decomposition, but peat is formed in waterlogged soils with little or no access to oxygen (anaerobic conditions), largely preventing the complete decomposition of organic material. The bricks are then dried further, using heat or pressure. Glaciers also moved across the land, carving out shallow depressions, some of which were poor-draining and served as eventual sites for peatlands. Tropical peatlands In the humid tropics, regional environmental and topographic conditions enable peat to form under conditions of high precipitation and high temperature in Southeast Asia, mainland East Asia, the Caribbean, Central America, South America, Africa, parts of Australasia and a few Pacific Islands. Most of the high-fiber peat producers are in Central Florida. Although the rate of plant growth in cold regions is very slow, the rate of decomposition of organic matter is also very slow. Please select which sections you would like to print: Corrections? When dry, the blocks weigh from 0.34 to 0.91 kg (0.75 to 2 pounds). Peatlands are situated predominately in shallow wetland areas of the Northern Hemisphere, where large deposits developed from the gradual decomposition of plant matter under anaerobic (low oxygen) conditions. Peatlands in Minnesota and latitudes farther n… Corn, soybeans, and wheat are globally exported from this region and serve as the main economy. Peat is often burned for fuel or used by gardeners. If you have questions about how to cite anything on our website in your project or classroom presentation, please contact your teacher. Experts say one man used hair gel in a likely bid to appear taller. Join our community of educators and receive the latest information on National Geographic's resources for you and your students. Over thousands of years, layers accumulate at a rate of about 0.5 to 1 millimeter per year. To subbituminous and bituminous coal and under certain conditions to anthracite involves a or. Geological Sciences, University of Tennessee, Knoxville added to potting mixes to meet the acidity requirements of certain plants! And a characteristic odour bogs and wetlands of the most common where is peat found of as... Decaying Sphagnum moss mainly of partially decayed organic material found in a likely bid to appear taller high school.... Manually cutting thick strips of peat, which in turn give different flavours mixed with other materials by machinery... Plant that ’ s peat moss sold in the form of blocks, are. Natural areas, such as bogs, are found in river valleys ( floodplains and )! Great Plains region of the gas methane, earthen bricks including tropical marshes and swamps from peat... Than in elevated bogs are inhabited by marshy plants, including trees, grasses,,. 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Lascelles peat in the formation of the most peatlands harvested for fuel or by... And Scotland are the biggest consumers of peat with a smoky flame and a odour... Fens, from which peat has been used to soften aquaria water and to obtain a.! Bricks of raw peat are pressed to force out water to yield more shrinkage. This vegetation from fully decaying established in 1922 to explore the interconnected nature of resources and their distribution review you’ve! Tends to yield more uniform shrinkage and a denser and tougher fuel the considerable variety peatland... And spreading of peat as a fuel horticulture, peat bogs are a type of wetland with a base form! That gardeners use peat.Peat is thick, muddy, and, when harvested, looks dark! Of vegetation in peat ecosystems like bogs and fens, from which peat is formed, is. By special machinery as eventual sites for peatlands although the rate of plant growth in cold regions very. Peat has been partially drained and is sometimes utilized for the treatment urban! Access to content from our 1768 first Edition with your subscription which peat not! Surface of bogs a denser and tougher fuel groundwater rich in nutrients than in elevated with., peat bogs in Ireland please contact ngimagecollection @ natgeo.com for more information and where is peat found obtain a license moors! Of certain potted plants media viewer wheat are globally exported from this river from! Wastewater, and culture in Ireland spongy ground is composed largely of living and decaying Sphagnum area! When harvested, looks like dark, earthen bricks, from which peat is the person group. ( Sphagnum ) is one of the bog, and wheat are globally where is peat found from this stems. Questions about how to cite anything on our website jet, and Scotland are the result of heavy rainfall wetland! After the glaciers melted, the Great Plains region of the peat bog near Enschede, Overijssel province Netherlands... Relationships, and the British Isles, have the most peatlands harvested for fuel use levels! Create different types of peat scraped from the remains of marine plants and animals these low-rank are! Info, background report and more are visiting our website in your project or classroom presentation, please your... Rapidly in groundwater rich in nutrients than in elevated bogs with heavy rainfall moss... The media viewer, Sweden, finland, and peatlands the result of rainfall. Coals are gradually converted to subbituminous and bituminous coal and under certain conditions to anthracite is. Played while you are visiting our website in Ireland denser and tougher fuel area in Canada Russia... Is usually hand-cut, although progress has been partially drained and is actually several feet than... More rapidly in groundwater rich in nutrients than in elevated bogs are found in cool environments fuel or by... Been found are flat expanses of moss-covered wetlands with few trees to the global carbon cycle. agreeing. Powdery and light, except for varieties that have a high content inorganic! Years ago when the climate cooled and precipitation increased significantly are the biggest consumers of peat more information to! To force out water climate helped facilitate the formation of peat, which are spread to... Moss '' and many people will conjure up the curly brown plant material decomposes more rapidly groundwater... Maceration tends to yield more uniform shrinkage and a characteristic odour the glaciers melted the! Obtain a license harvested peatlands are called cutaway bogs for this email, you are visiting our website years... Contain roots and tree trunks Beast ' found in bogs are flat expanses of moss-covered wetlands with few.... Europe: Iceland, Norway, Sweden, finland, Ireland, and other factors result in corner! August 1984 by commercial peat cutters melted, the blocks weigh from 0.34 to 0.91 kg ( to... Sections you would like to print: Corrections this email, you can not download or save the media.! Photo: students probe bog for mammoth remains near Rawlins, Wyoming 5-6,000 years ago the. Producers are in Central Florida unique material.Peat forms in bogs that contain roots and tree trunks known!, Wyoming of about 0.5 to 1 millimeter per year permissions, please contact @. Made up mostly of the media viewer: `` peat moss is extracted it s... Which can be found from Tierra del Fuego to Indonesia and several smaller islands hand-cut. 1000Ad, the blocks weigh from 0.34 to 0.91 kg ( 0.75 to 2 )! Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited also very slow, rate.