Planet Earth

Aerial shot of Peru’s beautiful “Golden River”. NASA reveals the ugly, shady reality behind the glow

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recently announced that Peru’s “Golden River” photographed from the International Space Station was shining golden under the sun. However, this beautiful ” Golden River ” is not a real river, but a mine pit left by illegal gold mining.

The ” Golden River ” photo was taken by astronauts on the International Space Station with a digital camera on December 24, 2020. NASA said that the meandering Inambari River is on the left of the photo, and the “Golden River” on the right is made up of countless illegally mined gold mines. The Inambari River and the endless pit throughout Peru Madre de Dios Region (Department of Madre de Dios) of the Amazon rainforest. Before these mines appeared, this rainforest was not destroyed.

The “River of Gold” made up of countless illegally mined gold mining pits, glitters in the sun. (NASA)

These gold mining pits are usually obscured by clouds, making it difficult to be seen by astronauts on the International Space Station. The day the photo was taken was under favorable weather conditions, and the dazzling golden light of these mines was able to capture this rare picture under the sunlight.

These pits may have been excavated by independent miners. The vegetation around each pit was destroyed, and the surrounding area was filled with muddy spoil. The mining area was mined along the direction of the ancient river, and rainforest trees wherever it went were cut down, which also caused the river to deposit a variety of sediments, including gold.

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Peru is the sixth largest gold producer in the world, and the Madre de Dios region is one of the world’s most independent gold mining areas, where tens of thousands of people rely on illegal gold mining to make a living. The mining of gold is the main cause of deforestation in the area, and the process of illegal gold mining has also caused mercury pollution.

According to a research report released in 2019, in the Peruvian Amazon, 22,930 acres of forest land were felled in 2018 alone, the largest loss in a single year since records were recorded in 1985.


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