ASACRO smeltingApril 4, 1899: The American Smelting and Refining Company (ASARCO) is founded. ASARCO builds an empire of lead, copper, zinc and arsenic-producing mines and factories (at right). Over the next century, ASARCO’s name also becomes synonymous with contamination. The company had over twenty of its plants placed on the "Superfund" cleanup list.

April 4, 1905: The Kangra Earthquake kills at least 20,000 in India's Himalayan region. Several towns are destroyed, including Dharamsala, which is best-known today as the exile home of the Dalai Lama.

April 4, 2005: Tom Philp of the Sacramento Bee wins the Pulitzer Prize for a series of editorials on restoring the Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park.

Photo: ZUMA Press

This feature is compiled by Peter Dykstra, an MNN contributor and publisher of Environmental Health News and The Daily Climate.