Degradation Of Appalachian Mountains Essay

2200 words - 9 pages

The 205-thousand-square-mile Appalachian Mountain range, which spans from Eastern Canada to northern Alabama, boasts North America’s oldest mountains (formed approximately 400 million years ago), the highest peak of the eastern United States (Mount Mitchell), industrial production opportunities and leisurely recreation. The range includes the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Great Smoky mountains (NCSU, n.d.). A range of recreational activities such as fishing in freshwater streams, camping, biking the Blue Ridge Parkway, skiing and hiking are available in the region. One popular hiking location is the 2,184-mile Appalachian Natural Scenic Trail, which is the longest walking trail in the eastern United States (United States. National Park Service, 2014). Its rich natural capital offers a plethora of resources, allowing production to range from small-scale agricultural establishments to larger industrial outputs of metal and timber. Approximately 80 percent of land has been used for the coal and logging industry since the 90’s (Little, 1995). Though the commercial utilization of the mountains has boosted the economy of Appalachian towns and cities, it has also degraded the range aesthetically and commercially.
One major business of the Appalachian mountain range is the coal mining industry; the range is the second-highest supplier of coal in America (Wuerthner, 2008). A common method of coal-extraction, mountaintop removal, results in mountain peaks becoming plateaus. The use of 300 million pounds of an explosive, ammonium nitrate rich fuel allows miners to remove hundreds of feet off mountain peaks each day, making the underlying coal more accessible and thus the extraction more efficient (Reece, 2006 & Shnayerson, 2008). The process is also less expensive than the traditional underground extraction, or contour strip mining (Shnayerson, 2008). This practice harms many aspects of the Appalachian environment, such as streams. The “overburden” removed by miners falls into valley streams, which is allowed at 6,700 sites by legislation passed in 1985-2001 (Reece, 2006). This results in contaminated stream water, which is used as drinking and bathing water for the citizens, causing many reported sicknesses. One of these is “blue-baby” syndrome, methemoglobinemia, which harms internal digestive organs and bones (Benton Franklin Health District, 2002). This is seen in infants and is caused by drinking water which contains more than 10 parts per million of nitrogen, a key ingredient of the fuel used in mountaintop removal mining (Reece, 2006 & Benton Franklin Health District, 2002). ¬The sickness is called blue-baby syndrome because it decreases the blood vessels’ ability to carry oxygen (Desoine, 2008). The process of mountaintop removal can also cause asthmatic diseases, because the coal particles can easily escape the waste storage dams and irritate the respiratory system (Reece, 2006). Massey Energy, which has headquarters in Richmond, VA, is a...

Find Another Essay On Degradation of Appalachian Mountains

Risks of Mountaintop Removal Essay

1221 words - 5 pages 1GuidryShelby GuidryDr. Lisa MoodyEnglish 1012 December 2013Risks of Mountaintop RemovalMountaintop removal poses risks to both humans and the environment because of the dangerous aspect of the coal mining process. Mountaintop removal is extremely popular in the Appalachian Mountains, causing risks to the citizens and environment in the area. "Appalachia used to be described as the richest and most developed ecosystem in North America" (Frayley

Mountain Top Removal Essay

1221 words - 5 pages 1GuidryShelby GuidryDr. Lisa MoodyEnglish 1012 December 2013Risks of Mountaintop RemovalMountaintop removal poses risks to both humans and the environment because of the dangerous aspect of the coal mining process. Mountaintop removal is extremely popular in the Appalachian Mountains, causing risks to the citizens and environment in the area. "Appalachia used to be described as the richest and most developed ecosystem in North America" (Frayley


3245 words - 13 pages Television shows such as ?The Beverly Hillbillies,? ?Hee-Haw,? and ?The Dukes of Hazard,? movies such as Deliverance, as well as comic strips such as L?il Abner have placed permanent cultural stereotypes on the Appalachian Region (Appy Culture). Thanks to these hastened conclusions by others, this agriculturally based region is portrayed as a cesspool for inbreeding, inherent poverty, high unemployment, insufficient education, and cultural

Hiking the Appalachian Trail

738 words - 3 pages In A Walk in the Woods our author, Bill Bryson, hikes through the deadly wilderness along the terribly long Appalachian Trail with his humorously witty companion Katz. Throughout the journey it becomes embarrassingly obvious that they will not be able to hike the entirety of the trail. The idea that they will not completely finish it begs the question; have Bryson and his faithful companion Katz actually hiked the Appalachian Trail? Katz gave

Rough Draft

817 words - 4 pages Americans. Britain was not so nice. They invaded the Native Americans’ land without asking; they didn’t exchange gifts because they thought that it was blackmail, and treated them with disrespect. The British had even issued a law that stated that no white man could cross the west side of the Appalachian Mountains without permission. Yet this did not stop the British from crossing the Appalachian Mountains. This angered the Chief Pontiac as he thought

I Love the Rocky Mountains of Colorado

1057 words - 4 pages people from all over New England drive to the New Hampshire White Mountains to appreciate the changing colors of the leaves. The White Mountains truly are a beautiful sight. As much as I love the New Hampshire Whites, The Rocky Mountain Chain is the largest mountain chain the United States, Stretching from the Mexican Boarder to well up into Canada. The peaks are taller than their Appalachian counterparts and the number of peaks also dwarfs the

Difficulty Appalachian Miners Encountered in Combating the Repression Imposed by the American Corporation.

1217 words - 5 pages Near the turn of the nineteenth century near the Cumberland Gap between Kentucky and Tennessee a company that would one day be known as the American Corporation gained governmental authorization to purchase mass amounts of land and begin mining towns in the valley of the Appalachian Mountains. The towns in this area, such as Clairfield, had over 40,000 residents and over 1,300 mining jobs. As mining technology became more advanced, the need for

Final paper

971 words - 4 pages began and what the family has lost because of it. I will interview people to gain a better understanding of how it is to live in the Appalachian Mountains as a whole and how they deal with the disasters that can occur from mining. For psychological research I will travel to the towns and give a survey to selected individuals from different time periods in order to gain a better understanding of how each period differs from one another. As well to

Appalachian Poverty

2231 words - 9 pages activity. Trends are started and developed New York City (16). Despite the fact that Appalachia is high in poverty, it has one of the lowest crime rates in the United States. It is a wonderful place to live and raise a family (16). With the wide open fields and ranches, it makes for a peaceful place to live. When the seasons hit the Appalachian Mountains, it is beautiful (16). In autumn the leaves turn a red and gold colors that light up the

Mountaintop Removal: A Public Discussion

1044 words - 4 pages Justice, Climate Ground Zero, and The Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards explained the practice of strip mining, a technique that began in the 1970’s that uses explosives and large earth moving machinery to extract coal from the ground. Mountaintop removal is a form of strip mining in which the summits of mountains are blown off in order to expose underlying coal seams for extraction. The rubble (overburden) that results is dumped into

History of Stone Mountain

756 words - 4 pages This paper will review the origins and geology of the Stone Mountain monolith in North Georgia, the history of the area and people and groups who have utilized the site for social and commercial purposes. Stone Mountain is an igneous intrusion often referred to as a geological pluton. The granite pluton is part of the Piedmont Plateau region of the Appalachian Mountains and was formed along the same geological fault line that created the Blue

Similar Essays

Analysis Of The Appalachian Culture In The Late Nineteenth Century

1059 words - 4 pages “Appalachia is the land of sky.”(Williams 19) Appalachia considered one of the top ravishing regions in the whole world. Once you visit this rich land, you will always want to retrieve those memories and visit it over and over. Its charming mountains will reflect its beauty and restore a feel of relaxation and purity in your soul. Appalachian is in the southeastern of United States and located in North America (The Appalachian Region paragraph 3

The Appalachian Mountain Range Essay

1427 words - 6 pages Moonshine, hillbillies and a one of kind dialect is what comes to mind when most people think of the Appalachian Mountains and the Appalachia people in the eastern United States. Long identified by the population and commerce found in the area, the Appalachians are also an interesting geologic feature. Running from north to south, the Appalachian Mountain Range is one of the oldest ranges on planet Earth. Beginning to form nearly a billion

The Emergence Of Appalachian Stereotypes In 19th Century Literature And Illustration

2139 words - 9 pages journalism and illustrative art that has continuously mislead and wrongfully represented the people of Appalachia. These stories, written and told by outsiders, served very little purpose to Appalachian natives other than means of humiliation and degradation. They served mostly to convince readers of the need for so-called civilized people and companies to take over the land and industry of the region, in particular the need for mineral rights

Appalachia Culture Essay

1503 words - 6 pages , thousands of them straggled out of the mountains in search of food and shelter. Their plight was brought to the attention of President Lincoln, who promised that after the war a way would be found to aid the poor mountain people whom the world had bypassed and forgotten for so long. The war ended, President Lincoln was assassinated, and so therefore Appalachia was forgotten. Appalachian people are considered a separate culture, made up of many