Soil Particles Take Flight? (image) USDA Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Research Station Share Print E-Mail Caption New research conducted by PNW Research Station scientists and their colleagues on the 2002 Biscuit Fire is the first to document the toll of wildfire on forest soils -- namely, the loss of significant amounts of carbon and nitrogen and 1 full inch of the upper soil layer. The work also raises an intriguing question: might the missing fine soil have been transported away in the fire's massive smoke plume, such as the one seen in this satellite image from July 29, 2002? Large plumes of smoke, some more than 900 miles long, were visible most days during the months-long fire, and scientists know that smoke contains fine mineral-soil particles as well as partially burned organic matter. The possibility that a substantial mass of mineral-soil particles was transported high into the atmosphere raises new questions about the effects of intense fire on radiation interception and offsite land and ocean fertilization. Credit Image courtesy of MODIS Usage Restrictions None Share Print E-Mail Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.