Ambarnaya River Oil spill in Russia
- June 6, 2020
- Posted by: admin
- Category: DPN Topics
Russia declared a state of emergency after 20,000 tonnes of diesel oil leaked into Ambarnaya river in Arctic region turning its surface crimson red.
Reason for spill
- The thermoelectric power plant at Norilsk is built on permafrost, which has weakened over the years owing to climate change.
- This caused the pillars that supported the plant’s fuel tank to sink leading to a loss of containment.
- Permafrost is any ground that remains completely frozen—32°F (0°C) or colder—for at least two years straight.
- These permanently frozen grounds are most common in regions with high mountains and in Earth’s higher latitudes—near the North and South Poles.
- Permafrost is made of a combination of soil, rocks and sand that are held together by ice. The soil and ice in permafrost stay frozen all year long.
- Near the surface, permafrost soils also contain large quantities of organic carbon—a material leftover from dead plants that couldn’t decompose, or rot away, due to the cold. Lower permafrost layers contain soils made mostly of minerals.
- A layer of soil on top of permafrost does not stay frozen all year. This layer, called the active layer, thaws during the warm summer months and freezes again in the fall. In colder regions, the ground rarely thaws—even in the summer.
Climate change and permafrost
- As Earth’s climate warms, the permafrost is thawing. That means the ice inside the permafrost melts, leaving behind water and soil.Thawing permafrost can have dramatic impacts on our planet and the things living on it. For example:
- Thawingpermafrost can destroy houses, roads and other infrastructure.
- When permafrost is frozen, plant material in the soil—called organic carbon—can’t decompose, or rot away. As permafrost thaws, microbes begin decomposing this material. This process releases greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane to the atmosphere.
- The newly-unfrozen microbes could make humans and animals very sick. Scientists have discovered microbes more than 400,000 years old in thawed permafrost.