Sampling, Handling, and Preparation of Peat Cores From Bogs: Review of Recent Progress and Perspectives for Trace Element Research

William Shotyk
Tommy Noernberg
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Peat bogs are valuable archives of environmental change, including climate history, landscape evolution, and atmospheric deposition of trace elements, fallout radionuclides, and organic contaminants. Maintaining the fidelity of peat samples during collection and handling can be challenging, given that bogs consist mainly of fossil plant materials that typically have a very low density and are easily compressed. The surface layers of bogs, which are dominated by living plants and poorly decomposed fibrous peats, are especially problematic. To extract peat monoliths, we use a Belarus corer for deep layers and a Wardenaar device for surface layers. Both corers are constructed using titanium alloys to improve strength, reduce weight, and minimize the risk of contamination by the trace metals of environmental relevance. In this review, we include detailed drawings of the Belarus corer and photographs of the modifications to the Wardenaar corer. Modifications to the motorized Noernberg corer for frozen peat are described, and a complete set of drawings provided. A summary is given of simple procedures to minimize the risk of metal contamination in the laboratory from slicing and subsampling the peat cores and milling the dried samples.