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10 places ruined by man-made catastrophes

By: Bryan Nelson on Jan. 23, 2012, 9:04 a.m.
Abandoned buildings in Gilman, Colorado

Photo: John Holm/Flickr [CC by 2.0]

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Gilman, Colorado

Once at the center of Colorado's zinc and lead mining operations, the now-deserted Gilman was designated a Superfund site in 1986 by the Environmental Protection Agency due to irrevocable contamination of the groundwater. Mining operations left such large amounts of arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead and zinc in the soil that it caused large fish kills up and down the nearby Eagle River. Although cleanup efforts have reportedly been successful in reclaiming the river, human resettlement at Gilman has not yet been approved.

The town is one of only a few sites in the world, including Wittenoom, Australia, and Picher, Okla., to be declared uninhabitable due to environmental and health damage caused by mines.