Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Smoking Hills of Canada

In 1850, British Captain Robert McClure was on one of several expeditions sent to search for the lost ships and crew of Sir John Franklin. When his ship, The Investigator, approached the mouth of the River Horton on Beaufort Sea near Cape Bathurst in Canada's Northwest Territories, he noticed smoke in the distance.
Photo Credit

The fires were not set by the Franklin expedition, as initially hoped. They resulted from large deposits of sulphur-rich brown coal which ignite spontaneously when the mineral veins are exposed to the air. The fumes they give off contain sulphur dioxide, sulphuric acid and steam, all of which has acidified the surrounding shallow pools creating a pocket of distinctive acidic biota, in contrast to the typically Arctic biota in adjacent alkaline ponds. 
The Smoking Hills are believed to have been burning for centuries, and will do so for many more.

More: Amusing Planet

Thanks Bruce!

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