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.