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October 30 2013

Gold Rush's poisonous legacy: Mercury lingering for 10,000 years


Even though the California Gold Rush took place more than a century ago, it left a toxic legacy of mercury pollution that will continue to be a problem for some time, scientists say.

New research shows that gold mining in the Sierra Nevada mountains between 1848 and 1884 left tons and tons of mercury-contaminated sediments in river valleys downstream, such as the Yuba River valley.

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