The bog is one of the many wonders of nature
, and is both a rare and intricate place that has more to it than what meets the eye
What Is A Bog?
It takes very special conditions to create the unusual place known as a bog. The history of the bog can be traced back thousands of years where it started to go through the first of many changes it would make before becoming a bog. It all started with the glaciers that had advanced roughly 25,000 years ago over a certain area (wherever that bog is now). These glaciers destroyed everything that was not capable of getting out of their way and turned the area to an arctic wintery sheet of ice. These sheets of ice continued to move for over 10,000 years and had the power to scrape the earth a kilometer deep. The ice receded about 12,000 years ago and there was nothing left where these glaciers had once been. However, things did start to come back to life, and in this depression from the gigantic mass of ice is where the existence of the bog came starts.
The first thing to fill these depressions was water. It runs into the holes and formes lakes. Out of this water sprang cattails and sedges where it was shallow near the outer rim of the lake. Also, the continuous movement of streams that emptied into this lake brought plenty of sediment. The shore continued to grow and fill in the remaining shallow areas, eventually making the lake shallow throughout. All of this plant life soon turned the lake into a swamp. This was about 5,000 years ago.
More grasses continued to grow and the fallen stalks would catch dead leaves and form a barrier that would stop these little streams from emptying into the lake. This in turn made the plants die and rot due to the lack of fresh water, needed nutrients and oxygen (making it anaerobic). The water became cool and highly acidic as well. This rotting and sinking to the bottom process continued, each forming layers of peat until a thick, dense mass was created in the bottom of this lake/pond, also known as a kettle.
Sphagnum Moss Makes Its Debut
Once the bog has joined together and made sort of peninsula, it can then detach from the bottom of the lake and still remain in tact with the shore and remain a single mass of land. This section of land continues to hover over a thin layer of water, creating a signature characteristic of a bog.Since this standing water was insufficient for supporting plant life, sphagnum moss started to take over this decaying area. The role of this moss for the last 2,000 years has been controlling the high water levels (due to rain and snow meltage) and also the low nutrient and oxygen levels.
What Can Be Found In A Bog?
The first most popular plant (actually a fruit) and made its home in the bog is the cranberry. Once they started to grow and cover large areas, early colonists took notice of these wild berries and started to harvest them. As the cranberries grew in popularity, bogs became the site of cranberry harvesting for production. This natural process of harvesting these berries during their hearty seasons and the rising waters in fall covered them to protect the plants from freezing. Soon, plants such as the sundew, a variety of orchids, ferns, mosses, azaleas, as well as the well loved carnivorous plants like the venus fly trap and the pitcher plant started to call the bog "home", not to mention the countless number of animals and insects, a few being wood ducks, wood turtles, painted turtles, spotted salamanders, and fish. There was however, a danger in all of this cranberry harvesting. It was feared that the bog would soon be mined for peat which would decrease the amount of bogs that exist.
Luckily, there are many programs and reserves that are helping to protect these limited attractions.
There is so much that can be found, learned and admired about bogs. From their amazingly long history, to their detail in how they maintain themselves - they truly are a masterpiece of nature.
- Personal Knowledge