This Beautiful Estuary Hides A Nasty Secret

Post 4280

Mika McKinnon

http://space.io9.com/this-beautiful-estuary-hides-a-nasty-secret-1687584508/+laurendavis

This Beautiful Estuary Hides A Nasty Secret

This beautiful estuary holds a hidden secret: these dendritic tributaries carving through rock carry wastewater from the busiest industrial port in Iran and heavy metals from its petrochemical plants into the surrounding ecosystem.

This Beautiful Estuary Hides A Nasty Secret

Musa Bay, Iran as seen by the Advanced Land Imager on NASA’s EO-1 satellite on January 20, 2015. Image credit: NASA

Musa Bay is where several Iranian rivers converge on their path to draining into the Persian Gulf. The branching pattern is common to streams spreading across relatively flat, uniform terrain, with few patches ofparticularly hard or steep rock to alter the patterns.

This Beautiful Estuary Hides A Nasty Secret

Musa Bay, Iran. Image credit: NASA/Earth Observatory

But the landscape isn’t completely untouched. Along with bright patches of irrigated agricultural fields, the estuary is also home to the Bandar Imam Khomeini petrochemical complex. As the largest petrochemical supplier in the country, the facility produces petroleum-based products including gas, plastics, fertilizers, and other industrial chemicals.

This Beautiful Estuary Hides A Nasty Secret

Inset closeup of the Bandar Imam Khomeini petrochemical complex. Image credit: NASA/Earth Observatory

The wastewater from the petrochemical facilities and ballast water from oil tankers both enter the estuary, raising local levels of oil residue, tar balls, and heavy metals. Sediments within the bay contain enough polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and other pollutants tonegatively impact the ecosystem, although the levels are pretty much the same as found around petrochemical facilities elsewhere in the world.

Read more on NASA’s Earth Observatory.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: