Tuesday, June 26, 2018

A Short History Of The Superstack

So no plans today, I have been enjoying some summer warmth, and trying to finalize a plan for that small band sawmill, I keep harping on about. It would be nice if I could finally start that build. I have been planing a road trip to visit some of my favorite used book stores around Ontario, maybe be in Ottawa for Canada Day. A detour into Sudbury, is in the plans, to pick up some material for the sawmill, mainly a 15 HP motor.

On the subject of Sudbury I thought some might be interested in the history of the area, and the "Superstack". Vale's, formerly Inco's, superstack has been in the news lately. It is being decommissioned and will be dismantled in the future. It was built back in 1970 to get the SO2 emissions (the main ingredient in acid rain) up into the jet stream and spread it over a wider area further downwind of the area. More advanced methods of removing SO2 and NO2 emissions out of the stack gas, have made it obsolete.

So 1.85 billion years ago a big meteorite slammed into Northern Ontario, and created the Sudbury basin, a 200 km (120 mile) wide crater. This picture explains the results.


In the bottom of that crater collected the worlds largest deposit of nickel, and smaller amounts of copper, platinum, palladium, and other semi precious metals. Up until 1970 the SO2 emissions devastated the vegetation in the Sudbury area (thus the "moonscape" reference often associated with Sudbury). After the Superstack was built, an aggressive  revegetation program was adopted, that has since won awards for its successes.


Above: The story goes that the day the stack was to be completed (Murphy's law applies), there were 6 workmen completing the top lip of the stack, when the "Sudbury Tornado of 1970" hit. The stack swayed like a drunken sailor. 5 of the 6 workmen survived, with minor damage to the stack. The next day, after going home to change their shorts no doubt, all 5 quit. A new crew was sent up to finish the lip that day.

Below: Molten lava down the hillside.



Above: A view from across Ramsay Lake. A beautifully reclaimed lake and recreational area in the middle of the city.

Hope you enjoyed this little trip. Cheers.

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