Air pollution can cause avalanches and landslides

Air pollution can cause avalanches and landslides

Geologists link the landslide in China that killed 73 people in 2009, and acid rain for years falls due to the pollution of the atmosphere by the combustion of coal in CHP.


In China bad pollution: large cities periodically covers so people are forced to leave. Diseases of the lungs and Airways brought in 2015 to the death of over a million people. And recently, Chinese geologists have proved that air pollution may be the cause of the disasters associated not with the element of air — from avalanches, landslides and mudflows.

Usually, avalanches and landslides occur due to the fact that rocks washed away by rain or budge seismic tremors. But in 2009, China stones fell not because of this: there were no earthquakes, or long rains. The authors of the article in Earth and Planetary Science Letters many years looking for the answer and found it in the air.

It turned out that over the area where the crash occurred, years went by acid rain (with pH=5 and below).

The reason for this is emissions of CHP plants that burn coal, along with carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide the burning of coal provides sulfur oxides and nitrogen that react in the atmosphere with water vapor to give sulphurous and nitrous acids, which fall to earth with rain.

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An acidic environment is soluble constituents of the clay, making it durable. But that’s not all: in acidic water infiltrated the rock along the cracks into the depths of the mountains came the oxygen and nutrients, causing rapid growth of soil microorganisms including those that feed, literally, rocks. Year after year they sharpened the clay layer which relied other species, already weakened from the acidic water, and the result was a landslide; there were casualties, dead and wounded.