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Re: Acid Rain
Most of the "old mines" in Pennsylvania were coal
mines, and many of these were strip mines, but in the
Anthracite mines in eastern Pennsylvania there were
underground mines. In any case, the mining process
produced acid mine drainage (AMD). The acid was
produced by the oxidation of sulfur from the minerals
pyrite and marcasite. These sulfur bearing minerals
are naturally found in coal and when burned oxidize
and ultimately produce sulfuric acid and acid rain.
pH in many a Pennsylvanian river reached levels below
4.0. I have in my earlier years measured pH in some
small tributaries at around 2.0 to 2.5. These rivers
did not have any aquatic life in them. Since
limestone rapidly reacts to acidic conditions to
neutralize the pH, rivers that drain over limestones
are protected from acidification.
Finally large areas of Pennsylvania as well as other
states had coal beds exposed at the surface and
groundwater flowing through the porous sandstones
would seep lower until they reached a lower
permeability layer and then seeped laterally to a
surface spring. In all of the coal areas these seeps
were sources of acid drainage. However, the flow
through these springs was much less than the flow
though disturbed areas around mining operations. Lets
not confuse ourselves into thinking that our
contribution to the environment degradation is minor
relative to nature.
--- Drummond Howard <drummondhoward at hotmail_com>
> Along these lines, I read an article a few years ago
> about how the constant
> addition of limestone to the upper Potomac river, to
> nutralize something
> leaching out of old mines, has "improved" the water
> quality beyond what it
> was before mining. Improved in terms of number of
> fish hatching. Wouldn't
> that also be a bad thing? Not to mention the effect
> on our drinking water.
> I believe they were looking at the Trout population,
> and I can understand
> this since the limestone streams in Pennsylvania are
> supposed to be great
> for trout, but what about the other fish which the
> trout feed on as well as
> feed on the trout?
> I believe the chemical they are trying to neutralize
> is cyanide, but I could
> be wrong. I'll have to see if I still have that
> To make this "List friendly", I believe there are
> some killies in the
> Potomac, But Dave Koran could asnwer that better
> than I could.
> Get your FREE download of MSN Explorer at
> See http://www.aka.org/AKA/subkillietalk.html to
Allen H. Johnson
132 Whispering Oaks Dr.
West Chester, Pa. 19382
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- Re: Acid Rain
- From: "Drummond Howard" <drummondhoward at hotmail_com>