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An old iron tank at an unnamed mine. This shot faces down Smith's Creek, near Monitor Pass, Alpine County, California.


Mine tailings

This heavily mined area is just east of where the 4 meets the 89 near Monitor Pass.

Yes, Virginia, tailings really are these sickly colors.


The Leviathan Mine.

This mine was opened in 1863 to mine copper sulfate used during the silver rush. In the 1930's it was opened again as a sulfer mine. The State of California took it over in the 1980's.


Seepage pits at the Leviathan Mine. This whole area is a huge toxic waste cleanup site.

It's just amazing that a Victorian Era mine could be so large, and still so highly toxic.
A cabin overlooking the mine.
The mine tailings are most impressive. A whole mountain was basically taken apart, sifted, and dumped here.
The Leviathan Creek still flows orange with minerals and waste, generations later. There is a constant soup of arsenic, mercury, copper, zinc and other tasty heavy metals flowing by, as they have been for decades.

A clean water stream from another drainage meets with the tainted Leviathan water.

The acids used in mining leach the heavy metals out of the tailings in a process known as Acid Rock Drainage. This water flows, largely untreated, into the Carson river in Nevada.

The Morningstar mine.

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