An Obscure African Plant Tells Miners Where to Look for Diamonds 

Diamonds you’re familiar with. Pandanus candelabrum, not so much. And until recently, botanists didn’t pay much attention to this rare, palm-like plant from West Africa either. But the discovery that P. candelabrum grows only over rock that may harbor diamonds has vaulted the plant out of obscurity.
» 5/06/15 7:30am 5/06/15 7:30am

Scientists find radioactive fracking waste in Pennsylvanian stream

A group of Duke University scientists have found concentrations of radium, a highly radioactive substance, in a stream near a facility that treats wastewater left over from hydraulic fracturing. The concentrations are 200 times higher than background levels — and they're in the water supply. » 10/03/13 2:43pm 10/03/13 2:43pm

Opal Mining: A Damn Good Way to Get Yourself Killed

Opal-mining is one of the world's most harrowing pursuits, but potentially one of the most rewarding as well. To find opals, a modern treasure hunter must dig random holes in areas of known deposits, and then lowering him- or herself down a 20 meter shaft. Besides the obvious problem of claustrophobia, and the danger… » 1/25/13 8:18am 1/25/13 8:18am

The vast, abandoned salt mines that lurk beneath Detroit

Over 1,000 feet beneath the city of Detroit is a 1,500 acre sprawl of tunnels created by salt miners at the turn of the twentieth century. Over at Environmental Graffiti, there's a fascinating story about the rise and fall of Detroit as the great city of salt production. Discovered in the late nineteenth century,… » 5/21/12 7:40am 5/21/12 7:40am

This Russian town is plagued by massive, spontaneous sinkholes

In a story seemingly invented for future landscape architecture thesis projects, we find the city of Berezniki, Russia. "In the West," the New York Times explains, "mines are usually located far from populous areas, to reduce the risks of sinkholes to homes and other buildings. But Berezniki, a city of 154,000 that… » 4/13/12 3:05pm 4/13/12 3:05pm

A video tour through an abandoned Japanese mining village nobody…

In the late 1970s, the mining industry dried up at the isolated mountain town of Nichitsu in Japan's Saitama prefecture. Residents began to move away, leaving entire houses filled with possessions to time and the elements. Nichitsu has since become a hotspot for urban exploration. The above video is a tour of the town… » 9/04/11 8:00am 9/04/11 8:00am