Acid Rain Abstract

410 Words2 Pages
Acid rain as a result of industrialization has had many negative effects on the New England region in particular. The Adirondack Mountains are of special interest due to their soil composition that does not allow for the seizure of the two primary particles in acid rain. This has caused issues pertaining to the water reservoirs in the area that now are sometimes unable to support life do to the high acidity. Acid deposition as it is more formally called is typically composed of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide. These two components are naturally occurring from sources like volcanoes but the industrial revolution has exponentially increased the amount of these chemicals in the air. The two components adjust the pH levels of water bring them down to sometimes sever acidic levels. pH levels are measured on a scale from 1-14. A pH level of 7 is a neutral water level; higher levels are alkaline and lower are acidic. Normal rainwater can sometimes be as low as a pH level of 5.0. The issue comes in that the levels in the area of the Adirondack Mountains have levels most commonly between 4.0 and 4.8, sometimes as low as 2.1. Levels this low put aquatic life in sever danger or wipe out all life completely. This was first noticed in the 1800’s. A geologist noticed the gravestones in New York were becoming impossible to read. While over time erosion will occur, this rate was much too rapid. In London during the 1900’s, Cornell professor-to-be Gene Likens noticed that buildings were deteriorating very quickly. After measuring pH levels of the rain and noticing how alarmingly low they were he came up with the term Acid Rain. What may have been his biggest contribution was what he noticed about where the acid rain was most potent. In areas that were more industrialized, the buildings were eroding at a visible rate. His research became published and globally became a hot new
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