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Measuring river sediments

Global River Sediments

WHOI researcher Valier Galy loads a sample into a gas chromatograph to identify and measure the abundance of lipids extracted from river and marine sediments collected from the Ganges-Brahmaputra basin. Using radiocarbon dating, Galy and his colleagues found that organic carbon resides in the basin for anywhere from 500 to 17,000 years. The study has big implications for the global carbon cycle because the longer carbon is stored in the soil, the longer it’s kept away from the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. The research is part of the Global Rivers Project—a collaborative effort to investigate river chemistry and land-ocean linkages in significant river systems throughout the world.

(Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

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