Scientists estimate that more than 15 million gallons of mercury are contained in the frozen permafrost regions of Alaska. When including the non-frozen soils of these regions, the amount more than doubles making it the largest concentration of natural mercury on Earth! Increasing temperatures have the potential to thaw permafrost in the northern hemisphere, which could be devastating to ecosystems globally. Once released into the atmosphere, mercury can travel long distances affecting many up the food chain. Additional research is being done in other parts of the world, but obviously this is a serious environmental issue to keep an eye on.
Exposure to the heavy metal mercury can result in major health issues affecting the nervous, digestive and immune systems, and may be fatal.