Perished peat

The cotton plants here show how wet this ground normally is, but the prolonged heat wave a few weeks ago has really dried the ground out! This has however made walking here a lot easier.

Desiccation cracks in the peat of the Cheviots, Northumberland, UK
Desiccation cracks in the peat of the Cheviots, Northumberland, UK

By studying modern examples of features such as desiccation cracks, when we observe fossilised desiccation cracks in the geological record we can infer things about the environment they formed in.

Cotton at the summit of Cheviot
Cotton at the summit of Cheviot

I spoke to my friend Suzy who’s PhD is on damage to peat and she told me that the photo of the desiccation cracks demonstrates that the peat in this area is not in a good condition. She told me that peat can be up to 95% water and adequate vegetation can prevent the effects of extreme weather causing damage such as this.

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