YEP 6 Exp Mongolia Day 4
Another great day was had in th Horidal Daridal Montains. The Yeps are now becoming experienced horse riders as they become more relaxed and comfortable with their horses. They are covering great ground and are experiencing the magificent scenery that this area has too offer.
Dr Roswitha Stolz from the Univerity of Munich is undertaking rock and soil sampling tests with the YEPs and giving them a good understanding of the geography and evolution of this particular landscape.
In their soil studies at Lake Hovsgol the YEPs gathered some information on /investigated soil moisture, pH values, soil texture, salinity and soil density.
All these factors have a huge impact on the vegetation around the Lake.
The soil the Young Explorers tested was the thawed upper layer of permafrost. In summer only the upper 25 meters of permafrost soil change their temperature, the rest remains below 0°C. However over the last years scientists worldwide made warrisome discoveries on the thawing of permafrost! This points to huge environmental problems we will be facing soon: local problems are coastal erosion and damage to the roads, buildings and pipelines that have been built on permafrost. Moreover permafrost soils are thought to store twice as much carbon as is currently present in the atmosphere. A lot of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane will be released into the atmosphere if the soil thaws, triggering further warming and more permafrost thawing.
Permafrost degradation can substantially change the surface hydrology in many ways. Within the area with ice-rich permafrost and poor drainage conditions permafrost degradation will lead to significant ground surface subsidence and pounding ("wet thermokarst"). The ground will become over-saturated, which could cause trees to die. This process will further improve the drainage conditions and lead to a decrease in the ground water content.