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Peat bog

A peat bog is a subcategory of bog or swamp which is high in acids due to high amounts of decaying vegetation, usually consisting of peat moss. A peat bog is the first geological stage in the formation of coal deposits.

Some peat bogs have preserved ancient oak logs useful in dendrochronology. Others are habitats for carnivorous plants, because bogs provide few nutrients. The bogs have also yielded extremely well-preserved bog bodies, with organs, skin and hair intact, such as Tollund Man and Lindow man, buried there thousands of years ago after apparent Celtic human sacrifice.

They also offer a unique environment for animals. For instance, English bogs give a home to the boghopper beetle[?] and a yellow fly called the hairy canary[?].

Peat bogs are widespread in northern Europe. Ireland is more than 15 per cent peat bog; Achill Island off Ireland is 87 per cent bog. There are extensive bogs in Canada (there called muskeg), Scotland, Finland, and Russia. Russia is the leading producer of peat for fuel with more than 90 million metric tons per year. There are also bogs in the Falkland Islands.

Peat bogs can catch fire and often sustain long-lasting smoldering blazes, producing smoke and CO2 with health and environmental problems.

After drying peat is often used as a fuel. More than 20 per cent of home heat in Ireland comes from peat and it is also used for fuel in Finland, Scotland, Germany, and Russia.

The other major use of dried peat is as a soil amendment[?] to increase the capacity to retain moisture[?] and to enrich the soil. It is also used as a mulch[?]

Such industrial uses threaten the continued existence of peat bogs. More than 90 per cent of the bogs in England have been destroyed.

Peat bogs are also used for sport. Bog snorkeling is popular in England and Wales and has even produced the associated sport of mountain bike bog snorkeling (http://simon.trinhall.cam.ac.uk/bike/bog-snork). Llanwrtyd Wells[?], the smallest town in Wales, hosts the World Bog Snorkelling Championships. In this event, competitors with mask, snorkel, and scuba fins swim along a 60-meter trench cut through a peat bog.

July 30 is International Bog Day.

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