Alaskan rivers are worryngly turning murky orange, due to the climate crisis

A research from the University of California and the U.S. Geological Survey said the causes could be due to the minerals released by the melting of the permafrost

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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Alaskan rivers are worryngly turning murky orange, due to the climate crisis
© Ken Hill/National Park Service via CNN Newsource

A new research have given a sensational and even worrying response; Alaskan rivers have begun to turn a murky orange. According to research from the University of California and the U.S. Geological Survey the causes of this color change could be due to the minerals released by the melting of the permafrost. The study discovered 75 contaminated spots over an area in northern Alaska.

Jon O'Donnell, who led the research, explained: "The more we flew around, the more we saw orange rivers. Some sites look more like orange juice than anything else. They could prove problematic in terms of long-term toxicity, but they could also prevent fish migration."

According to researchers, the clouding of river water could have consequences for drinking water and fisheries in the affected areas. Initial analyzes revealed that the waters contain a high content of zinc, copper, cadmium and nickel, but the main metal is iron, which is also the cause of the color change.

This intense orange color due to the numbness of the water had already been witnessed in past years, but only now and thanks to a study have researchers managed to demonstrate the pollution and actual numbness of the water. High concentrations of minerals are highly toxic to most aquatic life, considering meltwater toxic to spawning fish, which could have major implications for U.S. seafood industries.

Alaskan rivers
Alaskan rivers© Ken Hill/National Park Service via CNN Newsource
 

Brett Poulin, co-author of the study and professor of environmental toxicology at UC Davis, analyzed: "We're used to seeing this in parts of California, parts of the Appalachians where we have a mining history. This is a classic process that happens in rivers here in the Continental United States that has been affected for over 100 years by the mining rush in the 1850s. But it's really amazing to see that when you're in one of the most remote and wild areas and you're far from a mineral source that we think we're seeing It's the thawing of the soil that's happening faster there than it would elsewhere. It's really an unexpected consequence of climate change."

As mentioned, the problem is due to the melting of permafrost due to global warming due in turn to the ongoing and irreversible climate crisis.