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Understanding Metal Pathways in Mineralized Ecosystems

September 29, 2007

Successful management of ecosystems containing historical mine wastes requires understanding of processes that are responsible for the distribution, concentration, and bioavailability of potentially toxic elements. U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists recently completed several investigations at historical mine sites in the western United States. These investigations have improved our understanding of how metals are mobilized from mineralized sources, are transported through the environment, and become available to humans and other biota. The new information is being used by Federal, State, and local agencies that manage and remediate abandoned mine lands.