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GMEG - Mineral and Environmental Resources

Geoenvironmental Impacts of Mercury and Arsenic

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Project summary:

This project investigates the environmental impacts resulting form the geochemical distribution of arsenic and mercury in ores, mine wastes, soils, waters, and vegetation surrounding low-sulfide-gold-quartz and mercury ore deposits, and geologic environments with naturally elevated levels of arsenic and mercury. These studies develop geoenvironmental models and protocols necessary to evaluate the environmental risks associated with these elements. The study areas include: the low-sulfide gold quartz deposits and placers in the Sierra Nevada Foothills, CA, and similar deposits in east-central AK; mercury deposits in the CA Coast Range and in the southwest AK mercury mineral belt. Mineralogical and laboratory studies integrated with field studies address the mobility and bioaccessibility of arsenic and mercury and provide the basis for bioavailability studies.

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