Sunday, January 8, 2017

Walden Pond in the New York Times

Posted by Amanda Gallinat

"Walden is a perfect forest which all impurity presented to it sinks, swept and dusted by the sun’s hazy brush" 
-Henry David Thoreau, Walden

In a recent article in the New York Times entitled What the Muck of Walden Pond Tells Us About Our Planet, researcher Curt Stager describes in beautiful detail what sediment cores from Walden Pond can tell us about the site's past, present, and future. 

Sediment layers act as time capsules, showing the impacts of human development at Walden Pond over the past 1,500 years. Stager's team uses sediment cores to conjure up the clean, cool waters of Thoreau's time:

Following Thoreau's time, however, sediments reveal nutrient pollution in the 1920's, radiation and pesticides in the 1960's, and, in recent years, a ubiquitous alga common to warming waters. Stager warns that these sediment cores reflect an ecosystem that could be on the brink of "nutrient apocalypse" and we ignore the lessons of the lake at our own risk.

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