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  • New database catalogues plants that soak up contamination
    on November 21, 2017 at 5:14 pm

    Hyperaccumulators are unusual plants that can absorb much larger amounts of metal compounds in their leaves and stems than normal plants, and they are very useful for cleaning up contaminated land. […]

  • Research highlights ethical sourcing of materials for modern technology
    on November 10, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    Researchers have identified methods to predict the environmental and social cost of resourcing new deposits of rare earth minerals used in the production of mobile phones, wind turbines and electric vehicles. […]

  • Some Chinese coal ash too radioactive for reuse
    on November 10, 2017 at 3:40 am

    Many manufacturers use coal ash from power plants as a low-cost binding agent in concrete and other building materials. But a new study finds that coal ash from high-uranium deposits in China is too radioactive for this use. Some coal ash analyzed in the study contained radiation 43 times higher than the maximum safe limit set for residential building materials by the U.N. Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation. […]

  • Measuring atoms for better navigation and mineral detection
    on November 7, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    Better navigation systems and tracking of minerals and water may be the result of a new discovery by physicists studying atom measurement devices. […]

  • Marine species threatened by deep-sea mining
    on October 25, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    Underwater mining poses a great danger to animals inhabiting the seafloors. A new research study describes the most abundant species, a sponge, which can now be used to regulate mining operations and help us better understand their environmental impacts. […]

  • Electricity from shale gas vs. coal: Lifetime toxic releases from coal much higher
    on October 23, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    Despite widespread concern about potential human health impacts from hydraulic fracturing, the lifetime toxic chemical releases associated with coal-generated electricity are 10 to 100 times greater than those from electricity generated with natural gas obtained via fracking, according to a new study. […]

  • Pollution responsible for 16 percent of early deaths globally
    on October 20, 2017 at 10:25 pm

    Diseases caused by pollution were responsible in 2015 for an estimated 9 million premature deaths -- 16 percent of all deaths worldwide, according to a report. […]

  • New light shed on early turquoise mining in Southwest
    on October 18, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    Researchers are blending archaeology and geochemistry to get a more complete picture of turquoise's mining and distribution in the pre-Hispanic Southwest. […]

  • New Amazon threat? Deforestation from mining
    on October 18, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    Sprawling mining operations in Brazil have caused roughly 10 percent of all Amazon rainforest deforestation between 2005 and 2015 -- much higher than previous estimates -- says the first comprehensive study of mining deforestation in the iconic tropical rainforest. Surprisingly, the majority of mining deforestation (a full 90%) occurred outside the mining leases granted by Brazil's government, the new study finds. […]

  • Helium found in coal seams could aid safe shale gas extraction
    on September 29, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    Natural deposits of helium gas found in UK coal seams could help scientists monitor the secure recovery of coal or shale gas from underground sites, according to research. […]

  • Database of earthquakes triggered by human activity is growing, with some surprises
    on September 28, 2017 at 6:20 pm

    The Human-Induced Earthquake Database (HiQuake), the world's most complete database of earthquake sequences proposed to have been triggered by human activity, now includes approximately 730 entries, according to a report. […]

  • Diamonds show Earth still capable of ‘superhot’ surprises
    on September 21, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    Diamonds may be ‘forever’ but some may have formed more recently than geologists thought. A study of 26 diamonds, formed under extreme melting conditions in the Earth’s mantle, found two populations, one of which has geologically ‘young’ ages. The results show that certain volcanic events on Earth may still be able to create super-heated conditions previously thought to have only existed early in the planet’s history before it cooled. The findings may have implications for diamond prospecting. […]

  • The sand trap: Demand outpaces caution, knowledge
    on September 7, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    Sand, spanning miles of beaches, carpeting vast oceans and deserts, is a visual metaphor for limitless resources. Yet seize another metaphor -- sand in an hourglass, marking time running out. […]

  • Wolf behavior undeterred by tailings ponds and pit mines
    on August 30, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    New research shows that predation rates of moose have increased near areas of high human disturbance, but low human activity, such as tailings ponds and pit mines. […]

  • Shocking gaps in basic knowledge of deep sea life
    on August 21, 2017 at 10:33 pm

    Human interference in the deep sea could already be outpacing our basic understanding of how it functions. As a result, without increased research and an immediate review of deep ocean conservation measures, the creatures that live there face an uncertain future, scientists have warned. […]

  • Current threats to our oceans revealed
    on August 3, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    A survey of tens of thousands of marine studies from the last decade reveals current threats to our marine environment. These include: the effects of climate change, marine plastic pollution, conservation, as well as social and economic impacts. It is hoped the method used to obtain this information, which has only just been made possible with advances in computational power, will enable the development of robust policies that ensure the future health of our seas. […]

  • Big data points humanity to new minerals, new deposits
    on August 1, 2017 at 11:33 pm

    Researchers have found a way to predict minerals missing from those known to science, where to find them, and where to look for new deposits of valuable minerals such as gold and copper. […]

  • Challenging prevailing theory about how deep-sea vents are colonized
    on July 24, 2017 at 5:30 pm

    Despite being relatively close together, two recently discovered hydrothermal vent fields in the Gulf of California host very different animal communities. This finding contradicts a common scientific assumption that neighboring vents will share similar animal communities, and suggests that local geology and vent-fluid chemistry are important factors affecting vent communities. […]

  • Mountaintop coal mining causes Appalachian rivers to run 'consistently saltier'
    on July 13, 2017 at 7:30 pm

    Over time, alkaline salts and other contaminants from the coal residue and crushed rocks in valley fills leach into nearby streams and rivers, degrading water quality and causing dramatic increases in salinity that are harmful to downstream ecosystems. […]

  • Costs of coal storage and its impact on disadvantaged communities
    on July 5, 2017 at 5:30 pm

    While the negative health and environmental effects of mining and burning coal are well documented, simply transporting and storing coal can also adversely affect the health outcomes of individuals living near coal-fired power plants. New research explores the health and environmental costs of coal storage and transportation, finding that increases in the level of coal stockpiles held by US power plants increase local air pollution levels, which in turn increases the average infant and adult mortality rates in the communities near these plants. […]

  • Announcing the discovery of a new mineral: Nataliyamalikite
    on July 5, 2017 at 5:28 pm

    In the harshest of environments in far-east Russia, scientists have discovered a new mineral, which could revolutionize the future of the mining industry. […]

  • Biodiversity loss from deep-sea mining will be unavoidable
    on June 26, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    Biodiversity losses from deep-sea mining are unavoidable and possibly irrevocable, an international team of scientists, economists and lawyers argue. They say the International Seabed Authority, which is responsible for regulating undersea mining in areas outside national jurisdictions, must recognize the risk and communicate it clearly to member states and the public to spur discussions as to whether deep-seabed mining should proceed, and if so, what safeguards are needed to minimize biodiversity loss. […]

  • Nanoparticles and magnets offer new, efficient method of removing oil from water
    on June 8, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    Engineering researchers used magnetic nanoparticles to separate oil from water through a simple process that relies on electrostatic force and a magnet. The engineers believe their new technique could improve water treatment for oil and gas production, more efficiently clean up oil spills and potentially remove lead from drinking water. […]

  • A new twist on uranium's origin story
    on June 1, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    Biogeochemists found biogenic, non-crystalline uranium occurring naturally in a Wyoming roll front, offering new clues to the mineral's origins. […]

  • Mining for answers on abandoned mines
    on May 31, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    In the western United States 160,000 abandoned mines contaminate soils in the region. Researchers hope to solve this problem with biochar, a charcoal-like substance that can reduce the toxic consequences of mining for metals. […]

  • Human activity has polluted European air for 2,000 years
    on May 31, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    A new study combining European ice core data and historical records of the infamous Black Death pandemic of 1349-1353 shows metal mining and smelting have polluted the environment for thousands of years, challenging the widespread belief that environmental pollution began with the Industrial Revolution in the 1700s and 1800s. […]

  • Congo's miners often resort to hunting wildlife for food, study finds
    on May 26, 2017 at 6:37 pm

    Mining for valuable minerals in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a major driving factor in the illegal hunting of great apes and other wildlife for food, a new study has found. Authors of the new report recommend strengthening wildlife-friendly mining regulations and increasing sustainable domestic food sources as solutions against wildlife poaching near mining sites. […]

  • Metals from Bolivian mines affect crops and pose potential health risk, study suggests
    on May 24, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    Exposure to trace metals from potatoes grown in soil irrigated with waters from the Potosi mining region in Bolivia, home to the world's largest silver deposit, may put residents at risk of non-cancer health illnesses, researchers warn. […]

  • Rare Earth element mineral potential in the southeastern US coastal plain
    on May 15, 2017 at 7:07 pm

    Rare Earth elements have become increasingly important for advanced technologies, from cell phones to renewable energy to defense systems. Mineral resources hosted in heavy mineral sand deposits are especially attractive because they can be recovered using well-established mechanical methods, making extraction, processing, and remediation relatively simple. […]

  • 'Last African dinosaur' discovered in Moroccan mine
    on May 4, 2017 at 1:35 am

    One of the last dinosaurs living in Africa before their extinction 66 million years ago has been discovered in a phosphate mine in northern Morocco. A study of the fossil suggests that following the breakup of the supercontinent Gondwana in the middle of the Cretaceous period, a distinct dinosaur fauna evolved in Africa. […]