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The effect of lowering blood glucose levels
Thompson's eureka was a clump of fragile vegetation rooted near big river rocks flanking the ice-littered lake. It resembled a cow patty more than a plant. Thompson's colleague Benjamin Vicenio acquired several plants into a plastic baggie, noting their proximity to the sudden edge of the snow cap looming nearby.
Thompson mailed a portion of the plant to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Ma, for carbon-dating. The decision: more than 48, 1000 years old. "There experienced to be a error, I thought, " said Thompson Category of goods. "They've got too many digits. It's allowed to be 4, 800 years old. " Thompson's shock is understandable. After all, about three previous types of ancient vegetation near Quelccaya's edge flipped up dates near 5, 000 years old. But a second carbon-dating at Lawrence Livermore National Lab confirmed that the "new" plant was indeed extremely old; according to Livermore's method, it was more than 55, 500 years old.
Plants at Quelccaya are often rooted in soil-filled depressions in the bedrock. Thus, Thompson suspects the plant was maintained as the cap advanced over such a depression. This left a chamber of trapped air that spared the rose from being searched to tatters by the slow-flowing glacier.
If all ice on, say, Greenland melted, it would boost global sea levels by about 6 meters. But the melting of tropical glaciers would contribute only a fraction to sea-level increase. Instead, Thompson considers the retreat of tropical snow ominous because they're the proverbial "canary in a coal mine": a bird taken into mines to check for the buildup of dangerous gases. "You have two choices, " states Thompson. "Either you take the warning and get out of the mine or you choose to not take any action. In my experience, the tropical glaciers are our canaries. And they're showing us the system is changing. "
It appears that global warming is shrinking every last exotic glacier, including those at the summits of Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya, and the Himalayasall sites that Thompson has surveyed and cored in the past two decades. "Quelccaya will take fifty years or so to disappear completely given the current climate conditions, " he or she says. "And of course , the predictions are that things will get warmer within the next 50 years. inches This summer, Thompson plans to return to Peru to drill more cores and sample more plants to better reconstruct the ice cap's historybefore there's no ice cap left to study.