Destruction of Boreal Forest Near Athabasca Oil Sands, Canada – September 8th, 201056.7N 111.3W
On the right side of this orthorectified image of eastern Alberta, Canada, the Athabasca River can be seen running vertically past the Athabasca Oil Sands, near Fort McMurray.
Oil sands, also known as tar sands, are large deposits of bitumen – extremely heavy, semi-solid crude oil that is mixed with silica sand, clay minerals and water. The largest reservoir of crude bitumen in the world is found here in the Athabasca deposit.
The UK Guardian Newspaper and Greenpeace recently reported that Canada’s boreal forest – a continuous belt of coniferous trees separating the tundra to the north and temperate rainforest and deciduous woodlands to the south – is being flattened and destroyed in order to extract oil from the tar sands.
The striking photographs show how Canada’s magnificent boreal forest is being destroyed by the rush to extract oil from the tar sands just below the surface. The first two photographs show how large areas of forest have been cleared in order to extract the oil.
The third photograph shows the oily surface of the Mildred Lake tailings pond adjacent to the Syncrude upgrader north of Fort McMurray. The final one shows clumps of trees that have become isolated amid the destruction of the landscape around them.