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Rapid City, SD  57701

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Research@Mines Archive:
July, 2019

Study Finds Flooding Can Increase Mercury Levels in Some Lakes

Jim Stone, Ph.D. is one of the researchers on this study. He stands next to a fish consumption advisory warning on a lake in South Dakota.

A study by researchers at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology on the concentration of mercury in the sediments of seven South Dakota lakes found that the pollutant generally enters the water bodies through runoff and can increase during times of flooding and lake expansion. 

The paper, titled “Historical sediment mercury deposition for select South Dakota, USA, lakes: implications for watershed transport and flooding,” was published this year in the Journal of Soils and Sediments.

Emissions from coal fired power plants are the main source of mercury pollution around the world. Mercury is distributed through the atmosphere until it settles on the land. Global deposition of mercury began with the start of the industrial revolution and peaked in the United States in the 1970s. The concentrations have gone down with emission reductions and pollution control in more recent decades. Historic mining and industrial operations are less common sources of mercury pollution.

The objective of the study was to determine the main source of mercury and to understand the history of mercury deposition on a diverse range of lakes in the state. The study included Wall Lake, West 81 Lake, Lynn Lake, Island Lake, Lake Hurley and Lake Sinai in the eastern part of the state, and Lake Isabel ...

Last Edited 8/1/2019 10:37:15 AM [Comments (0)]

SD Mines Researcher Develops New Technology to Detect Bone Loss in Astronauts, Potentially Screen for Early Cancers

Dr. Congzhou Wang characterizes biochips using an atomic force microscope in a lab on the campus of South Dakota School of Mines & Technology in Rapid City, SD.

RAPID CITY, SD (July 16, 2019) — Imagine using a simple, portable test to detect cancer before malignant tissues even begin to form, or to detect bone loss before it causes osteoporosis. For South Dakota School of Mines & Technology researcher Congzhou Wang, Ph.D., these ideas are becoming reality. 

“This is potentially a game-changer in terms of our ability to monitor and prevent disease,” says Wang.

Wang, an assistant professor in nanoscience and nanoengineering at SD Mines, has been awarded a $52,000 seed grant from SD NASA EPSCOR to research and develop a biochip to detect biomarkers indicating early osteoporosis. A biomarker is a biological molecule found in body fluids that signals disease or conditions in the body. These biochips use gold nanoparticles as sensors.

As a researcher in nanoscience and nanoengineering, Wang’s research focuses on nanomaterials – materials of incredibly small scale. For instance, the nanoparticles in his sensors are 1 to 100 nanometers in size, more than 1,000 times smaller than a human hair.

The eventual goal of Wang’s research is to provide a testing “strip” or “biochip” that can be used by astronauts in space to catch early osteoporosis biomarkers...

Last Edited 7/15/2019 02:25:49 PM [Comments (0)]