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Technology NASA images reveal immense "rivers of gold" in the Amazon

19:30  13 february  2021
19:30  13 february  2021 Source:   slate.fr

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Un astronaute de la Station spatiale internationale (ISS) a réussi à capturer ces clichés rares. | Capture d'écran Youtube via anonymous pirates © An astronaut from the International Space Station (ISS) managed to capture these rare pictures. | C ... An astronaut from the International Space Station (ISS) managed to capture these rare snapshots. | Youtube screenshot via anonymous pirates

The images are stunning. Just published by NASA, the American space agency, the photographs taken from space show “rivers of gold” crossing large plots of the thick Amazon rainforest.

Rare Nasa photo reveals miles of Peru's "rivers of gold" in Amazon rainforest https://t.co/BFFXHupobf

- BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) February 11, 2021

These large golden scars are beautiful, certainly, but also reflect a sad reality: that of the illegal and destructive extraction of gold in the Amazon.

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Here, nothing to do with rivers. These huge gaping wounds that disfigure the heart of the forest are pits dug by illegal gold miners in the Madre de Dios region, in south-eastern Peru.

This illicit activity is usually done away from prying eyes and cloud cover generally impedes the view of these pits from space. But a thinning momentarily reflected the stagnant water of these artificial basins and an astronaut from the International Space Station (ISS) managed to capture these rare pictures in December 2020.

A toxic and destructive activity

The gold of Madre de Dios, , 90% of which in 2016 came from artisanal or illegal mines, is wreaking havoc in Peru. Its extraction is both a plague for the local populations and a calamity for the biodiversity of the region.

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With the rise in gold prices, the poor inhabitants of the region see illicit gold mining as a means of meeting their needs. The other side of the coin is heavy, however: the mercury they use to extract the precious nuggets ends up in the rivers and poisons the local populations , in particular the natives.

See also Deforestation: the Amazon rainforest close to the point of no return

A study by the American scientific institute Carnegie showed that nine of the fifteen species of fish the most consumed near Porto Maldonado, a town in the region, had higher than standard mercury levels. No wonder then to see that 78% of the inhabitants of the city also displayed alarming levels of this chemical element in their body, adds Le Point in a survey.

On the other hand, gold panning is gradually devouring the Amazon jungle. In some parts of the region, it is even believed to be the main driver of deforestation. In addition, this illegal activity would have destroyed about 9,280 hectares of the Peruvian Amazon in 2018, according to the Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project group. The equivalent of 13,000 football fields.

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usr: 3
This is interesting!