From: Blaine Friedlander via Cornell University
Published October 28, 2016 04:09 PM

Colorado River's dead clams tell tales of carbon emission

Scientists have begun to account for the topsy-turvy carbon cycle of the Colorado River delta – once a massive green estuary of grassland, marshes and cottonwood, now desiccated dead land.

“We’ve done a lot in the United States to alter water systems, to dam them. The river irrigates our crops and makes energy. What we really don’t understand is how our poor water management is affecting other natural systems – in this case, carbon cycling,” said Cornell’s Jansen Smith, a doctoral candidate in earth and atmospheric sciences.

Smith is lead author of “Fossil Clam Shells Reveal Unintended Carbon Cycling Consequences of Colorado River Management,” published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, Sept. 28.

The new research, in collaboration with the University of Arizona and the Cornell-affiliated Paleontological Research Institution, provides a novel approach that combines biological and paleo methods to understand how a nearly dead river delta presents evidence of vast amounts of carbon being added to the atmosphere.

Continue reading at Cornell University

Image Credit: Jansen Smith via Cornell University

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