There is Tea In Our River!

northern exposures

72/22 degrees.

It is not the prettiest water in the world. Sometimes I think it might be the ugliest. If you boat out into the current it has the look of mud because of all the sediment that it carries. The sediment is mostly silt and sand with only a small percentage of clay, so in still water it settles quickly enough that the water clears rapidly.

Sediment is not the only thing responsible for coloring the Yukon. Everywhere along its banks there are willows and spruce, many millions of trees all producing tannins that find their way into the water. Tannins are used to tan leather and to create dyes. They also stain the water the color of tea. When iron is present, the two react to produce organic iron compounds that impart a yellow brown tint. This may explain why the water in the photograph above is so oddly colored.

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18 thoughts on “There is Tea In Our River!

    1. Thank you, Nonoy. Getting the framing was difficult for me in this picture, and honestly, I wasn’t completely happy with it. Glad you liked it.

    1. Good morning, Nia. The ravens are making funny noises outside. They are one of the things I wish you could come here for. They are the most interesting birds I have ever been around.

          1. Makes alligator-spotting especially difficult in those more murky mangrove-lined areas, heh… (how’s that for alliteration?)!

          2. Pretty good. πŸ™‚ Okay, try adding an “m”ending to this one:

            More murky mangroves make monstrous mouths…

          3. Hahaha! Lewis Carroll would be proud. πŸ™‚

            More murky mangroves make monstrous mouths meet in the mystic morning mists…

          4. Okay, More murky mangroves make monstrous mouths meet in the mystic morning mists to masticate munchables of…

          5. oh my… i was unhappy with my “mystic/mists” arrangement (carroll would NOT approve) β€” and now you really raised the bar. that’s good. i can do this…

  1. Great photo Dave. Though I may have to contest the ugliness of the color of the Yukon’s water. Living and traveling through Azerbaijan, I have seen numerous rivers and have always been astounded at how none of them are clear. It makes me long for a rocky bottomed riverbed.

    1. I’d like to dive down in the middle of the river and see if there are stones there, too. We have another river called the Porcupine that empties into the Yukon a few miles from town. It is much cleaner looking than the Yukon. It’s interesting to me that they can look so different.

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