On July 15, on a seemingly arid canal in Arizona, the US suddenly appeared a stream of black mud like a scene from a horror movie. After authorities announced a small storm had passed, while the Bighorn forest fire was going on, it seemed that a monster had appeared in the Canadian del Oro alluvial land.
A video posted by the official Pima county Twitter page shows a stream of black mud by ash and soot rushing forward. Unsurprisingly, this phenomenon is called the “sediment slug”.
The video was posted by Pima County’s Twitter page.
It is thought that the Bighorn fire originated from lightning strikes on dry debris. Starting June 5, more than 48,377 hectares of national parks are estimated to have been cleared by the fire. Currently, although it has been controlled, but at the foot of the Catalina Mountains the fire continues to smolder, threatening the diverse ecosystems of the area.
Around the area of the fire, extremely rich ecosystems: ranging from cacti on dry land to pine and cypress forests. The Bighorn Fire not only destroys the wildlife, but it also makes future rains more dangerous. Pima County’s Twitter page posts: “Forest fires like Bighorn make the ground barren and charcoal, unable to absorb water. Even a light rain can create unpredictable flash floods. ”
Fires alter the structure of the soil by mineralizing organic matter and releasing nutrients, metals and toxins that are often difficult to swept away. The newly created soil structure after this chain reaction is resistant to water. Moreover, with the trees burning, nothing could fix the ground. So the flow of ash and debris easily overflows, even if only a small rain.
This flow is especially dangerous when it comes to rivers and lakes, because it will change the environment in many ways. First, this flow will reduce the amount of oxygen in the water, while increasing the amount of nutrients that help the blue-green algae and bacteria to thrive. But the growth of these species further reduced the amount of oxygen in the water, causing aquatic animals like fish and crabs to suffocate and die in mass. This happened in Australia during the last 2019-2020 fire.
If other fishes or aquatic creatures can overcome it, they can die of starvation, as the amount of ash and ash reduces the visibility in the water. Algae and aquatic plants are also endangered because the ash that causes turbid water can hinder photosynthesis.
These “slugs of sediment” can also spill into reservoirs and threaten the quality of human drinking water, by making the mud so thick that the filtration system cannot process it all. They may also entail larger objects, damaging facilities wherever they pass, as well as threatening human lives if they are accidentally encountered. In summary, not only look dangerous, but the “sedimentary slugs” as shown in the article are exactly a disaster for the environment and the life in which they pass.