Scientists Say: Bog

This is a type of wetland that forms peat

This is sphagnum moss, a kind of moss often found in bogs.

Wikimol/Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY 2.5)

Bog (noun, “Bog”)

A bog is a type of wetland — or land that is covered with water. Bogs are found in cooler places, where plant growth is slow. Decay is also very slow in a bog. Because of that, dead plants — especially mosses — build up below the water, eventually becoming a substance called peat. Peat can be dug up, dried and burned as fuel.

Because things decay very slowly in bogs, items placed or left in bogs can be preserved. Those items can prove useful. Scientists can study preserved trees from bogs, for example, to find out more about ancient climate. Or they might study human bodies dumped in the bogs to learn more about how those people once lived.

Bogs are one of four main types of wetland. The other three are swamps, marshes and fens.

In a sentence

Scientists studied bogs to find out how Canada’s earliest people lived.

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Bethany is the staff writer at Science News for Students. She has a Ph.D. in physiology and pharmacology from Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

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