Do you believe in buried treasure? Well, maybe you should.
Hidden deep within a glacier in the heart of Alaska is one. An ecological moment in time that can change the way we understand and address global warming on our planet.
Thanks to the curiosity of researcher Brian Buma, an Asst. Professor of Forest Ecosystem Ecology at the University of Alaska Southeast, we now know that vegetation can grow in a place previously occupied only by ice. And it can grow pretty fast.
Buma went to Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve to retrace the steps of ecologist William Cooper, who researched the ecosystem in Alaska back in the 1930’s, and find the metal markers relating to his ecological research that he had left behind.
He found them (with the help of a few kayaks and colleagues). They took a nitrogen sample from the soil beneath the jungle that was now covering the markers, to study the evolution of the ecosystem from then until now. And they have Cooper’s records to refer to as well.
While it may not be gold, it is a golden find for the future of our planet.
Watch the story told by Elizabeth Jenkins from Alaska’s Desk of Energy.