Orange water from a tributary of the Kugororuk River
Orange streams are increasingly common in the Brooks Range of northern Alaska. The orange stream color reflects oxidized iron, but also often indicates elevated heavy metal concentrations. Our ongoing study aims to document these occurrences and the timing of their onset. By sampling orange stream chemistry and assessing their spatial and temporal distribution we aim to 1) test multiple hypotheses related to their cause and link to warming and thawing landscapes, and 2) consider the implications for downstream water quality and ecosystems.
Photo taken by Josh Koch, U.S. Geological Survey