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  • Lead pollution in Greenland ice shows rise and fall of ancient European civilizations
    on May 14, 2018 at 7:19 pm

    Scientists, historians and economists have used ice samples from the North Greenland Ice Core Project to measure, date and analyze European lead emissions that were captured in Greenland ice between 1100 BC and AD 800. Their results provide new insight for historians about how European civilizations and their economies fared over time. […]

  • As tellurium demands rise, so do contamination concerns
    on April 25, 2018 at 1:38 pm

    As technology advances, demands for tellurium, a rare element, are on the rise. Some forms of tellurium are toxic, so as the element finds applications in solar panels, rubber production, electronics and more, researchers are becoming concerned about possible environmental contamination. Now, one group reports that by studying lake sediments they can construct a history of tellurium as it was deposited in the environment. […]

  • Soil metals linked with cancer mortality
    on April 20, 2018 at 4:28 pm

    Epidemiologists and geologists have found associations between esophageal cancer and soils where lead is abundant, lung cancer and terrains with increased copper content, brain tumor with areas rich in arsenic, and bladder cancer with high cadmium levels. These statistical links do not indicate that there is a cause-effect relationship between soil type and cancer, but they suggest that the influence of metals from the earth's surface on the geographical distribution of tumors should be analyzed. […]

  • Coal mining reduces abundance, richness of aquatic life
    on April 18, 2018 at 6:13 pm

    Coal mining, under current US regulations, has significantly reduced the abundance and variety of fish, invertebrates, salamanders, and other aquatic life in streams, according to a new study. […]

  • Recycling experts hit milestone in quest for zero-waste phone
    on April 12, 2018 at 3:09 pm

    UBC researchers have perfected a process to efficiently separate fiberglass and resin -- two of the most commonly discarded parts of a cellphone -- bringing them closer to their goal of a zero-waste cellphone. […]

  • Lavas in the lab could lead miners to new iron ore deposits
    on April 12, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    Geologists have discovered that some magmas split into two separate liquids, one of which is very rich in iron. Their findings can help to discover new iron ore deposits for mining. […]

  • Pulling valuable metals from e-waste makes financial sense
    on April 4, 2018 at 1:39 pm

    Electronic waste -- including discarded televisions, computers and mobile phones -- is one of the fastest-growing waste categories worldwide. For years, recyclers have gleaned usable parts, including metals, from this waste stream. That makes sense from a sustainability perspective, but it's been unclear whether it's reasonable from an economic viewpoint. Now researchers report that recovering gold, copper and other metals from e-waste is cheaper than obtaining these metals from mines. […]

  • Germany was covered by glaciers 450,000 years ago
    on March 23, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    Researchers have obtained new chronological data for the timing of the Elsterian and Saalian glacial cycles in central Germany. They found that the first Quaternary glaciation, which covered huge parts of Europe in ice, occurred as early as 450,000 years ago and not - as previously thought - around 350,000 years ago. The researcher further showed that once these glaciers had retreated, the first people appeared in central Germany around 400,000 years ago. […]

  • Landfills: A future source of raw materials
    on March 23, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    Decontamination of landfills and open dumpsites could prove profitable – both financially and for the environment. […]

  • Majority of mining-related injuries and illness in Illinois go unreported
    on March 9, 2018 at 5:52 pm

    Illnesses and injuries associated with working in Illinois mines are substantially underreported to the federal agency tasked with tracking these events, according to a new study. […]

  • Diamond discovery under pressure
    on March 7, 2018 at 7:14 pm

    For the first time, scientists have found Earth's fourth most abundant mineral -- calcium silicate perovskite -- at Earth's surface. […]

  • New insights into biodiversity hotspots could help protect them from potential deep-sea mining
    on March 7, 2018 at 5:20 pm

    New insights into animal patterns around extinct submarine volcanoes could inform measures used to protect marine ecosystems from human activities, such as trawling and deep-sea mining. These insights show that the structure of marine life communities depends on depth and small-scale features on the sea floor. […]

  • Untapped gold mine is lost from end-of-life vehicles
    on March 6, 2018 at 2:31 pm

    Vast quantities of scarce metals are being lost from Europe's urban mine of vehicles, including 20 tonnes of gold each year – and the proportion of critical metals in vehicles is continuing to increase. A database is now being published that charts the metals and facilitates recycling. […]

  • Water filtration breakthrough using metal-organic frameworks
    on February 9, 2018 at 10:07 pm

    With two billion people worldwide lacking access to clean and safe drinking water, new research may offer a breakthrough solution. Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), a next-generation material with the largest internal surface area of any known substance, can be used to capture, store and release chemical compounds -- in this case, the salt and ions in sea water. […]

  • Small gold mines in Senegal create high mercury contamination
    on February 9, 2018 at 3:06 pm

    A new study has found high levels of mercury and methylmercury in soils, sediments and rivers near artisanal gold mines in Senegal. Nearly every sample collected from four mining villages contained mercury levels at least ten times higher than World Health Organization and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards. […]

  • Seabed mining could destroy ecosystems
    on January 22, 2018 at 3:40 pm

    Mining on the ocean floor could do irreversible damage to deep-sea ecosystems, says a new study of seabed mining proposals around the world. […]

  • Using data mining to make sense of climate change
    on January 18, 2018 at 9:24 pm

    Experts have developed a new way of mining data from climate data sets that is more self-contained than traditional tools. The methodology brings out commonalities of data sets without as much expertise from the user, allowing scientists to trust the data and get more robust -- and transparent -- results. […]

  • Clean and green: A moss that removes lead (Pb) from water
    on January 17, 2018 at 6:11 pm

    Researchers in Japan have demonstrated that that moss can be a green alternative for decontaminating polluted water and soil. Their study shows that in particular, the moss Funaria hygrometrica tolerates and absorbs an impressive amount of lead (Pb) from water. […]

  • Heavy-petroleum fuels raising vanadium emissions
    on December 15, 2017 at 5:10 pm

    Human emissions of the potentially harmful trace metal vanadium into Earth's atmosphere have spiked sharply since the start of the 21st century due in large part to industry's growing use of heavy oils, tar sands, bitumen and petroleum coke for energy, a new Duke study finds. These emissions now exceed those from all natural sources combined. Growing evidence suggests exposure to vanadium-rich aerosols can impair respiratory functions and exacerbate conditions such as asthma or COPD. […]

  • 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. […]

  • Scientists reveals the mystery about the origin of gold
    on November 21, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    Scientists have shed new light on the origin of gold, one of the most intriguing mysteries for humankind since ancient times. […]

  • 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. […]