Feb. 11, 2021
Stunning rare photographs published by Nasa have revealed the extent of gold mining – much of it thought to be illegal – in Peru’s Amazon rainforest.
The “rivers of gold” captured in the images are actually pits believed to have been dug by unlicensed miners, the space agency says.
The pits, usually hidden from view, were illuminated by reflected sunlight.
An astronaut on the International Space Station (ISS) captured the unusual photographs in December.
The images are further evidence of the scale of destructive gold mining in the Madre de Dios region in south-eastern Peru.
The country is a leading exporter of gold, and Madre de Dios is home to a huge unregulated industry with thousands of miners trying to make a living.
The area is a biodiversity hotspot and the extractive industry has led to extensive deforestation and destruction of vital habitats.
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