PHOTOS: Hazardous Gas Clouds From Coal Mine Blasting in Southeastern Montana

Today, blasting at the Rosebud Coal mine owned by Western Energy Company created clouds of hazardous gases which is a common occurrence in coal strip mining. The actual meteorological conditions at the time of firing the blast will have a significant impact on the fume plume and its local effect, including low cloud cover and inversions.
The orange color indicates a high concentration of nitrogen oxides, including nitrogen dioxide. When inhaled, nitrogen dioxide becomes nitric acid as it encounters moisture in the lungs. Exposure to the gas can cause respiratory problems, lung damage and even result in death.
The Rosebud Mine is a 25,000-acre surface mine complex located in the northern Powder River Basin near Colstrip, Montana. The mine has three active pits and supplies almost all of its current production to the four-unit 2,100 megawatt Colstrip coal fired power plant. Here are photos taken today of the nitrogen clouds from today's blasting. Mineblasting.colstrip Mineblasting.colstrip2 Mineblasting.Colstrip3 Mineblasting.colstrip4 Mineblasting.Colstrip5

6 Comments on “PHOTOS: Hazardous Gas Clouds From Coal Mine Blasting in Southeastern Montana

  1. This is really stunning. Thank you for documenting this tragic pollution

  2. Stunning isn’t quite the word i’d use Cambell Howe! Tragic, yes! This is what we get for destroying our planet! Injuring inncent people and wildlife……not stunning at all!!!

  3. Pingback: Weekend Reading: February 21, 2014 |

  4. Let’s not get too excited, Joan Cole. The NOx shown here will dissipate and break down within at most a few hours (usually in just a few minutes) and is not dangerous unless you’re standing directly in the middle of it. The amount of NOx released is FAR less than that coming from the tailpipes of the cars on the interstate on even a modest day of traffic. No innocent people or wildlife are harmed and the planet’s not being destroyed. Nevertheless, blasters do their best to avoid such orange clouds, which represent explosives not used as effectively as they could be. Explosives are expensive, and miners don’t like wasting money any more than you like to see orange clouds.

  5. Dang people! Do your research don’t just assume the worst the orange “smoke” is just dust from the blast! Ever heard of sand stone, well when it is moist it turns a bright orange. And there are lots of springs around colstrip I tell you what! So do some research! Also stop saying stuff that doesn’t make any God damn sence, you science nerds!

  6. All the people complaining about the existence of temporary orange clouds, why don’t you do your part? Quit driving. Quit using electricity unless you put up solar panels and wind generators. Quit buying products from the supermarket and Walmart, because energy was used in their production and transport. Why don’t you get a Bible and crack it open, too, and do some reading, starting in Genesis Chapter 1. God created it all. Man was instructed to populate the earth, to use it for that purpose, to have dominion over it, which does include taking care of it. It does not say to preserve it all or never use it. If you are going to crap your diapers over an orange cloud, or over coal use for electrical power production, then you should crap your diapers over the suppression of alternative, some would say free, energy technologies. Until those are broken free, we use coal or natural gas. Nuclear power is what you should focus hatred on. A coal plant doesn’t ruin an area the size of Wyoming after a serious accident like nuclear does.