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The Color of Water Reflects State of Environment [Slide Show]

This series of photographs from the upcoming book Our Beautiful, Fragile World, by Peter Essick, decodes the many hues of H2O

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BEAGLE CHANNEL:

The Beagle Channel is named for the famous vessel in which Charles Darwin made his voyage around the coast of South America. On  January 29, 1833, Darwin sailed into this bay and wrote, "It is scarcely possible to imagine any thing more beautiful than the beryl-like blue of these glaciers, and especially as contrasted with the dead white of the upper expanse of snow." ....[ More ]

MINING:

In the late 19th century, Leadville, Colorado, was booming. For almost 100 years, millions of ounces of gold and silver were recovered from mines surrounding the city. But eventually the ore ran out, and the soil and surface water in the mining district were heavily contaminated with lead, zinc and other heavy metals.....[ More ]

POLLUTION:

A dye used as a preservative in the production of tofu at the plant in the background causes the waters of the Yellow River to turn pink. An estimated 980 million of China's 1.3 billion people drink polluted water every day.....[ More ]

SINKHOLE:

Algae blooms in a sinkhole near Bowling Green, Kentucky. Excess nitrogen in the water from fertilizer and manure runoff provides the nutrients for the algae to grow. It is the chlorophyll that gives the green algae its color.....[ More ]

LAS VEGAS:

Tourists revel in the volcano fountain at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. The red color comes from floodlights on the fountain at night. But in 2009 the Environmental Working Group rated the drinking water in Las Vegas 98 th out of 100 cities that it tested in the U.S.....[ More ]

FRASER ISLAND:

Water from Wathumba Creek picks up tannins and turns brown as it flows into the sea along the western coast of Fraser Island, Australia. Tannin compounds are found in a wide variety of plants, where they regulate growth and deter predators.....[ More ]

TROUT:

In the Golden Trout Wilderness in California's Sierra Nevada, one of the region's namesake fish swims in the crystal clear waters. The yellow color of the water comes from the sandy bottom. Silica in the sand, usually in the form of quartz, is clear, but small amounts of iron oxide, or rust, can give sand the yellowish tinge.....[ More ]

GREENLAND:

Sunrise light hits icebergs in the sea in Eqaluit Ilua, Greenland. Glaciers are formed by falling snow composed of snowflake crystals. The crystals compress over time and act as tiny mirrors in the ice.....[ More ]

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