Russian authorities have ordered an investigation into a possible pipeline break after a river in the nickel-producing Arctic city of Norilsk turned bright red.
Social media users began sharing photos of the unnaturally red Daldykan river on Tuesday, with some writing that it had also changed colour in June.
A few users suggested iron ore in the ground had changed the river’s colour, but others said industrial waste was a more likely reason. The river runs near to the Nadezhda metallurgical factory run by Norilsk Nickel, the world’s largest producer of nickel and palladium.
Russia’s natural resources and environment ministry said in a statement on Wednesday that it was investigating complaints of unknown chemical pollution, possibly caused by a “break in a Norilsk Nickel slurry pipe”.
Norilsk Nickel denied an industrial spill into the Daldykan and said the “colour of the river today doesn’t differ from its usual condition”, state news agency RIA Novosti reported. But the company said it was temporarily reducing manufacturing work while it monitored the situation.