Acid rain and the destruction of our environment

Acid Rain What is acid rain Acid Rain is any type of precipitation with acidic components that falls to the ground from the atmosphere. It can be wet or dry. These compounds can be carried away by air currents for hundreds of miles. They fall back to earth in the form of rain, sleet, hail, snow and dust.

Acid rain and the destruction of our environment

Copyright held by photographer Summary Acid mine drainage AMD refers to the outflow of acidic water from a mining site. Acid mine drainage is a major problem with many hardrock mines, including almost all mines where the metal ore is bound up with sulfur metal sulfide mines.

A significant number of coal mines also suffer from acid mine drainage. The metals dissolved by the acid drainage poison downstream waters, in many cases to the point where nothing other than microbes can survive.

Although mining is by far the largest cause of this type of acid leaching, the process can also occur during non-mining land disturbances such as construction, or even naturally in some environments, examples of the more general phenomena of "acid rock drainage" ARD. Acid mine drainage is a worldwide problem, leading to ecological destruction in watersheds and the contamination of human water sources by sulfuric acid and heavy metals, including arsenic, copper, and lead.

Acid rain and the destruction of our environment

Once acid-generating rock is crushed and exposed to oxygen and the surface environment, acid generation is very difficult to contain or stop, and can continue for tens or thousands of years until the available sulfide minerals are exhausted.

Roman-era mines have been identified which are still producing acid mine drainage. It is the irreversibility of the process of turning relatively inert ore into tremendous volumes of hazardous waste, the very long hazard-life of the material, and the extreme difficulty of containment which make acid mine drainage such a serious and persistent issue.

Geology and chemistry Copper, gold, lead, silver, zinc, and other desirable metals are often found in ores rich in iron sulfide. They are isolated from the atmosphere and surface waters by their depth, providing relatively little surface area for them to react with water and oxygen.

Acid formation in these buried deposits occurs at a slow and usually harmless rate. Extracting the valuable metals from these rocks, however, involves extracting and crushing the ore.

When iron sulfide is exposed to air or dissolved oxygen in water, the sulfide oxidizes to sulfate, which then turns to sulfuric acid H2SO4.

Acid rain and the destruction of our environment

Sulfuric acid is a highly corrosive chemical, used in many industrial processes as well as in car batteries. It is also one of the primary constituents in acid rain, and is toxic to most living organisms. The sulfuric acid produced in sulfide mine tailings makes the surrounding water more acidic, sometimes dramatically so.

In addition to the direct effects of this acidity, acid water leaches toxic heavy metals such as lead and arsenic from the surrounding rocks into the water. The mining process allows these acid and heavy metal generating reactions to occur at much higher rates than occur in nature.

The Effects of Acid Rain on Ecosystems

Metals mining produces waste rock and mine tailings with a surface area that is vastly greater than the undisturbed rock.

Extracting valuable metals from ore usually involves crushing the ore rock into a mud slurry, where each particle can be less than 50 millionths of a meter across. This increases the surface area of the sulfide rock by a factor ofor more, which proportionally increases the rate of acid formation.

Theoretically, acid formation is neutralized where sulfide ores occur alongside more alkali minerals, since alkali a.What are fossil fuels? Fossil fuels are rock-like, gas, or liquid resources that are burned to generate power.

They include coal, natural gas, and oil, and are used as an energy source in the electricity and transportation sectors. They’re also a leading source of the world’s global warming pollution. Acid Rain, however, is rainfall that has become overly acidic due to higher levels of nitric and sulfuric compounds in the atmosphere.

Effects of Acid Rain

These relatively high levels are caused by air pollution largely from the industrial burning of fossil fuels.

Sep 03,  · Phytic acid is the principal storage form of phosphorus in many plant tissues, especially the bran portion of grains and other seeds. It contains the mineral phosphorus tightly bound in a snowflake-like molecule.

A tropical rainforest typically has a number of layers, each with different plants and animals adapted for life in that particular area. Examples include the emergent, canopy, understory and . Good news on the environment front, folks: the effects of acid rain on forests in the northeastern US and eastern Canada are finally starting to reverse, nearly forty years after the United States.

Decaying vegetation, wildfires and biological processes within the environment also generate the acid rain forming gases. Dimethly sulfide is a typical example of a major biological contributor to sulfur containing elements into the atmosphere.

The Effects of Acid Rain on the Environment