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Geography Summitive - Athabasca Tar Sands

Ms.Keil CGC 1D0-H

Cathy Ly

on 10 June 2013

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Transcript of Geography Summitive - Athabasca Tar Sands

The Athabasca Tar Sands By: Cathy Ly What are Tar Sands? Tar sands, also known as oil sands, are
petroleum deposits found in sandstone deep beneath the ground.These deposits contain a mixture of clay, sand, water and bitumen, a heavy, thick oil. Where are they located? The Athabasca tar sands can be found in very large quantities in Northern Alberta, Canada and in other parts of the world. Alternatives to Tar Sands Solutions to Tar Sands Extraction How is bitumen extracted? There are 2 different methods that can be used in the extraction process of oil:

1. Open Pit Mining
2. In - Situ Production Method Open Pit Mining 1. shovels dig up tar sands and
transported to extraction
plant 2. hot water is added to the sand to
separate bitumen from clay, water,
minerals and clay 3. resulting slurry is piped to
extraction plant to be agitated 4. hot water and agitation
release bitumen from
oil sand 5. released air bubbles
cling onto bitumen
droplets and rise to
surface which are
then skimmed off In - Situ Production Method 1. the injection well continuously
pumps steam down a pipe
into the top of the oil-sand
reserve 2. steam heats up oil sand. As bitumen heats up, it
liquifies and separates from surrounding sand 3. liquified bitumen flows to the bottom and into production well where it is pumped to surface Impact On Physical Geography Government Involvement Impact On Human Geography Settlement Health Impacts Environmental Impacts The tar sands negatively impact the environment in a variety of ways : 1. Air and Water Pollution
2. Greenhouse Gas Emissions
3. Wildlife
4. Water Management Why do people move to Alberta? low property taxes
countries lowest gasoline tax rate
low personal and cooperate income tax rates
no sales tax Fort McMurray average household income is $180 000
unemployment rate = 4%
most residents work in tar sands, oil, gas, energy industries = many high income jobs available
employees receive free health and dental care Aboriginals high rates of thyroid conditions and rare cases of cancer (bile duct, leukemia, lymphoma, lupas)
impaired neurological development in babies, infants, and children
studies shown that children often show impacts on cognitive thinking, memory, language, attention, and fine motor skills
Adults can suffer from peripheral vision, sensory damage, speech impairment, hearing loss muscle weakness Tar sand development have many negative impacts on human life: Fort McMurray social issues: drug and alcohol abuse, suicide, sex trade, gambling, family violence escalating housing costs and labour shortages in critical employment areas
2/3 jobs are for tar sands in construction sites. When construction is done, over two thirds of oil workers will be left jobless Water Pollution tar sand operations release large amounts of acid rain = sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxides in the environment
various toxins (napthenic acids, polycyclic hydrocarbons) into the air found in snow, water, lake sediments as far as 100 km downstream of tar sands mines and upgraders
create sludge called tailings: contain water, sand, silt, clay, contaminants, and unrecovered hydrocarbons = toxins harmful to humans, plants, and animals
Athabasca waterways polluted with 4 million liters of toxic runoff everyday
tar sand mines create as much toxic tailings as flows over Niagara Falls in 90 seconds Greenhouse Gas Emissions Top 10 GHG emitters
Canada's fastest growing source of GHG pollution
Canada's GHG emissions have grown more since 1990 than any other G8 nation
emissions from tar sands oil production are an average 3-5 times more greenhouse gas intensive than conventional oil
make about 0.2% of worlds GHG emissions
40 million tonnes of CO2 per year Wildlife many species are in deadline as a result of industrial development in North Eastern Alberta (caribou, lynx, wolverine, chickadee)
animals are facing death from swimming/drinking from tailing ponds
studies show that some species may end up extinct if planned tar sands projects are implemented
fish and other animals game animals are appeared covered with tumors and mutations Water Management between 2.5 - 4.5 volume units of water are used to produce each volume of synthetic crude oil
lakes in Alberta are so toxic that propane canons are used to keep wildlife away
The Canadian Oil Sands use 349 million cubic meters each year
potential oil spills pose threat to aquatic life
operations demand diverting rivers and in some cases removing them entirely
tar sands use more water everyday than a city with 2 million people Solar Energy: Alberta receives 2264 h of sunlight per year
amount of that falls on Alberta = enough energy available from all non - renewable resources extracted each year
inexhaustible source of energy Wind Energy fastest - growing source of energy in the world
every unit of electricity generated by wind = nearly 100% reduction in GHG emissions
land is versatile
inexhaustible source of energy
windmill generators don't emit any emissions that cause acid rain/ GHG effect Hybrid Cars Canadians can save 85% of their gas consumption
A hybrid car gets 5 miles per gallon better mileage on average than a traditional gasoline-powered vehicle
they do not need to be filled up with gasoline as frequently, cutting overall gasoline consumption and cost
less carbon monoxide is released into the atmosphere = reducing emissions and air pollution
becoming more mainstream = demand for fuel decrease, potentially leading to less drilling and lessening the risk for negative impacts on the environment Land: establish 50% protected areas
implement a wetlands and biodiversity offset policy Air implement world-class air quality standards
require best available technology Greenhouse Gases place appropriate prices on GHG pollution (carbon tax)
require carbon capture and storage system The Government Of Alberta: companies are required to develop a reclamation plan for the life of the project prior to approval
for in-situ projects, plans which describe areas that will be disturbed and the mitigation members to be employed must be submitted for approval
require financial guarantees to ensure oil reclamation is completed as planned
work is underway for Lower Athabasca Regional Plan which will establish environmental thresholds in tar sands region Impact on Economic and Social Geography Trade: Canada is one of the largest exporters of oil
6th highest oil producer in the world, produces 4% of world's oil
worlds largest energy project - almost 60% of all global investments
every major oil company has laid a claim in tar sands
largest exporter of oil to the United States Of America Employment: about 136 000 Albertans are directly employed in the oil and gas extraction and mining sector = 1 out of 15 jobs in the province
oil sands development creates jobs outside of Alberta: 23% is outside the province
currently provides 75 000 jobs for people across Canada
over the next 25 years more than 950 000 annual work positions
for every direct job created in Alberta's tar sands industry, approximately one indirect and one induced job will be created in the rest of Canada Thank You! tar sands cover an area approximately 140 000 km2 which is equivalent to the size of England
takes up 21% of Alberta, using almost 60% of total resource around it
approximately 3000 square kilometres of Boreal Forest cleared, drained and stripped
137 000 square kilometres are fragmented into lines, roads, pipelines and well pads for for industrial development
this scale of industrial development could push the Boreal ecosystem over ecological tipping point leading to irreversible damage
forests are cleared making bare land, even if rehabilitated it'll take years before it can return to original state
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