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The Big Picture: Grand Canyon and Uranium Mining

Detailed Description

Created for a fact sheet on the implications of breccia pipe Uranium mining in the Grand Canyon region, this drawing packs a significant amount of information into a single image. Starting from the upper-left portion of the drawing we have a geologically accurate cross section of a breccia pipe along with the corresponding subdivided rock layers.  This image is inset into a panoramic view of the Garand Canyon with the Colorado River flowing through and a Big Horn Sheep. Just below it we see a Mule Deer standing on the range, in with San Francisco Peaks in the background. The upper right of the drawing includes a rock formation “The Watchers” along with a California Condor – a formation and species of great cultural significance to the Havasupai Tribe. In a sense, the upper half of the image can be thought of as the potential impact portion of the drawing.

The image is then bisected by a map of the Colorado River, much like the river cuts through the Grand Canyon, with Park and Tribal boundaries incorporated. The Lower left image is that of a typical Uranuim mine site and its components.  Included at the mine site is some of the sampling that was conducted, as well as some of the ecology that would be typical to a mine site. The backdrop is that of Pinion Pine and Red Butte. The lower Right is a spring area, something that was heavily studied.  It includes people sampling water-quality and aquatic invertebrates.  Above the spring is Vasies Spring flowing down the side of the canyon. 

Each circle includes something that was studies, but could not necessarily be easily seen. The circles can be thought of, in a sense, like the lens of a magnifying glass.  From left to right we have a tadpole with broken DNA, the root system below a native grass (representing root-uptake), a damsel fly and a caddis fly – both studied at the spring sites. The image as a whole represent the beauty of the region, the context of the greater landscape within which mining exists, and the science that has been conducted.


Public Domain.