Mining

Las Salinas in Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge

Puerto Rico

These Salt Flats in Puerto Rico Are Cotton-Candy Pink

The distinct color of Las Salinas comes from a combination of algae, bacteria, salt and water

Zeolite, a clay material found in kitty litter, may be the next tool to help reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. 

Innovation for Good

Minerals Used in Kitty Litter Could Help Fight Climate Change

A MIT study shows how, when treated with copper, a clay called zeolite can convert methane to carbon dioxide, a less powerful greenhouse gas

Adam Hardin's 2.38-carat brown diamond "Frankenstone" is the size of a pinto bean.

Cool Finds

Treasure Hunter Unearths 2.38-Carat 'Frankenstone' Diamond

Adam Hardin discovered the impressive brown gem at an Arkansas state park

The only available photograph of America Newton, a formerly enslaved woman who ran a laundry business out of her cabin in Julian, California, dates to around 1910.

The Trailblazing Black Entrepreneurs Who Shaped a 19th-Century California Boomtown

Though founded by Confederates, Julian became a place of opportunity for people of color—and a model for what the U.S. could look like after the Civil War

Denver's apology for an 1880 anti-Chinese riot comes during a surge of racially motivated violence and discrimination toward Asian Americans. 

Denver Apologizes for Anti-Chinese Riot of 1880

A white mob terrorized residents and murdered a man, but the city never punished the perpetrators

Bon Ami Mine is located in Little Switzerland, North Carolina, about 50 miles northeast of Asheville.

Black Lights Turn This North Carolina Mine Into a Psychedelic Wonderland

The Bon Ami Mine’s deposits of the mineral hyalite glow fluorescent green under ultraviolet light

Flamingos in the Atacama region of Chile

Mining Lithium for Electric Vehicle Batteries May Threaten Flamingos, a Study Finds

A lake in Chile has seen decreases in two flamingo populations over the last 11 years, which researchers link to lithium mining

Votive offering found at the Sikait site

Did Ancient Nomads Seize Control of a Roman Emerald Mine in Egypt?

Recent excavations suggest the Blemmyes assumed power of the Sikait mining site between the fourth and sixth centuries C.E.

Early humans were likely exposed to mercury through cinnabar, a sulfide mineral that produces a bright red powder when pulverized.

New Research

Earliest Evidence of Mercury Poisoning in Humans Found in 5,000-Year-Old Bones

Researchers discovered the toxic element in remains buried across the Iberian Peninsula between the Neolithic period and antiquity

Carved by industrious miners thousands of years ago, countless shafts wend through the desert of the Timna Valley.

An Archaeological Dig Reignites the Debate Over the Old Testament's Historical Accuracy

Beneath a desert in Israel, a scholar and his team are unearthing astonishing new evidence of an advanced society in the time of the biblical Solomon

DNA from the skin of this mummified sheep leg allowed researchers to study sheep husbandry practices in ancient Iran.

Researchers Recover DNA From 1,600-Year-Old, Naturally Mummified Sheep Leg

The molecules offer insights on ancient farming practices near the Chehrabad salt mine in Iran

Astronaut Luca Parmitano uses a sample-spinning centrifuge on the I.S.S. to expose the bacteria to the equivalent of Mars' gravity.

New Research

Space Station Experiments Show How Microbes Could Be Used for Mining on Mars

Researchers sent bacteria and basalt rock to the ISS to figure out which microscopic organisms can extract useful metals in reduced gravity

"Jumbo Bunkhouse"

Let These Photos Take You to Alaska's Abandoned Mining Towns

Photographer Paul Scannell recounts stories of perilous treks and quiet reflection on his journey to capture the ruins of the northern frontier

The color, known specifically as Falu red, has been a consistent symbol of pastoral life in Sweden.

Why Are All Swedish Cottages Painted Red?

One company has exclusive rights to the source of the iconic pigment—a copper mine's supply of iron deposits that may last just a century more

A visual representation of global methane from January 26, 2018. Red areas indicate higher concentrations of methane swirling in the atmosphere.

New Research

World Methane Emissions Hit New High

Agriculture and fossil fuels drive a surge in global emissions of the powerful greenhouse gas

Rock piles like the one pictured here helped ancient miners navigate the subterranean network.

An Underwater Cave Once Hosted the Americas' Oldest Known Ocher Mine

Humans have valued the rich red pigment for hundreds of thousands of years

A Roman lead ingot recently unearthed in Wales

Cool Finds

Local Man Finds 2,000-Year-Old Roman Lead Ingot in Welsh Field

Rob Jones' discovery adds a tangible piece of evidence to the history of mining in Roman Britain

A deep-sea starfish attached to what is called a polymetallic nodule. These nodules are being targeted by the burgeoning deep-sea mining industry for their mixture of valuable metals including manganese, cobalt, copper and nickel.

Deep-Sea Mining’s Environmental Toll Could Last Decades

A study of microbial communities at the site of a 1989 deep-sea mining test suggests the fragile ecosystem may take half a century to fully recover

The History of the Hard Hat

With some canvas, leather, shelac and black paint, inventor Edward Bullard helped America usher in a new era of workplace safety

Founded in 1854, the town of Ivittuut (formerly Ivigtut) once held the world’s largest reserve of naturally occurring cryolite.

How This Abandoned Mining Town in Greenland Helped Win World War II

Ivittuut held the world’s largest reserve of naturally occurring cryolite, a mineral that was used in the manufacturing of fighter planes

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