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Hydraulic Mining in Sierras and Mercury Mining in Clear Lake

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by

Ming Liu

on 23 May 2015

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Transcript of Hydraulic Mining in Sierras and Mercury Mining in Clear Lake

Abiotic Factors
Depth of rivers
Oxygen
Turbulence
Sunlight
Erosion rates
Hydraulic
Mining in Sierra Nevada
By: D. Chao, C. Chong, M. Liu, S. Kaufusi, and W. Wang
Mercury Mining in
Clear Lake
Hydraulic Mining (to mine
gold
)

Effects of Mercury
Mercury Mining
Biotic Factors
Abiotic Factors
Biotic Factors
Mercury Cycle
Trees
Plants
Producers
Bacteria
Decomposers
Fungi
Rodents
Deer / Bighorn Sheep
Primary Consumers
Small Birds
Black Bear
Small Predators
Rabbits
Snakes
Flying Raptors
Mountain
Lion
Secondary Consumers
Tertiary Consumers
Phytoplankton
Zooplankton
Fish
Fish-Eating Birds
Small Mammals
Humans
Crustaceans
Insect (Larvae)
Frogs
Turtles
Aquatic Plants
Secondary Consumers
Primary Consumers
Tertiary
Consumers
Producers
Flow of Energy
Algae
Methylmercury
Mercury Forms
"Choose your own adventure!"
Released from rock, soil, surface waters, volcanoes, or human activity
Hg goes through atm. / water
Deposited land / water
Combines with water vapor
Precipitation
To methylmercury by bacteria
Re-enters atmosphere / bioaccumulates
Flooding
Devastated farm land
Contaminated water
Trouble for river ships
Runoff (underground contaminants)
Mountain washed
Habitat loss
Bald Eagles
Sun
Sun
On Humans
On Organisms
Damage to central nervous system
Damage to hearing/seeing
Possibility of cancer
More harmful to children
Central nervous system
Kidneys
Birth defects
Death
Solutions
Sierra Nevada Ecosystem
Clear Lake Ecosystem
Clear Lake
Sierra Nevada

Discovery of Hg --> Hg mines
1988 : 24 million lbs / year of Hg released into ecosystem
Hg ore: cinnabar
Cinnabar extracted with explosives / power equipment
Mercury released into ecosystem (not properly stored)

Pollution
Erosion Rates
Depth
Turbulence
Oxygen Content
pH
Organic Matter
Mercury in Clear Lake
Sulfur Bank Mercury Mine(SBMM)
SBMM mined for Hg
150 acres of mining waste flooded open pit mine
Herman Impoundment (750 ft up gradient)
EPA superfund Site
Hg present in Clear Lake (bioaccumulated / sediment buildup)
EPA cleanup efforts
Restore salmon to Clear Lake
Health studies linking Hg to harmful effects
Public funding
Public awareness
The Sierra Fund "Get the Mercury Out"
Reducing soil erosion
Fixing/cleaning up legacy mines
Building reservoirs
Public investment
Laws against hydraulic mining
Banned by Court (in 1870-1880s)
Background:
CH3Hg
Made in nature in Hg Cycle
Common in Sierra Nevadas & Clear Lake
Characteristics:
Bioaccumulates easily
Stored in fatty tissues
Problems:
Hard to eliminate
Easily absorbed
Extremely toxic
Flow of Energy
Water diverted from high point, washes away mountain
Mud slurry is combined with mercury in wooden channels
Mercury amalgamates (or combines) with gold, making it easier to collect
Slurry in valleys, pumped into rivers
Leftover mercury in slurry
Relationships with Other Animals:
Antagonism with Predators
Mercury is mined at SBMM
Mercury hauled to Sierra Nevada Mountains to help mine gold
Mercury washed downstream with debris (after mining use)
In unoxygenated water, Mercury turns to Methylmercury
Improperly stored mercury runs off into Clear Lake from Herman Impoundment
Methylmercury deposited into surrounding area
Mercury bioaccumulates into top predators, including eagles and fish (ending up on YOUR plate)
But how are they related???
Edward the Eagle
Decomposers
Effects
of Hydraulic Mining
Relationships with animals:
Competition with osprey
Antagonism with fish
Affected by hydraulic mining
Loss of habitat/food
Mercury = Hg
Methylmercury
Sierra Nevada ecosystem:
hydraulic mining
Clear Lake ecosystem:
mercury mining
Human influence connections
Solutions
On Bald Eagles:

Top predator on food chain = highest mercury concentration
Rabbits
Summary
Mercury Mining & Hydraulic Mining are human activities --> huge impacts on ecosystems
Intertwined in Mercury Cycle as they move about CA
Mercury --> harmful effects on organisms
BUT:
We're working hard to clean up the mess we made :D
Questions?
OUTLINE
Cinnabar (Hg ore)
Map of Clear Lake
Thank you!
:)
King Hoppy VI

King Hoppy VI
King Hoppy VI
King Hoppy VI
Cody Coyote
Jumpy
Cody Coyote
Hungry Bear
King Hoppy VI
King Hoppy VI
BY MERCURY!!!
:D
Full transcript