Obscura Day 2015: The Berkeley Pit Mine - Atlas Obscura
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Butte, Montana

Obscura Day 2015: The Berkeley Pit Mine

Join us for an expert-led tour of the country's largest Superfund site.

Join us on Obscura Day to explore the Berkeley Pit Mine, a former copper pit mine transformed into an enormous and highly toxic man-made lake of extremely acidic water.

From 1955 until 1982, over one billion tons of rock was mined from the Berkeley Pit. Situated on the northeastern side of the town of Butte, Montana, the Berkeley swallowed whole neighborhoods and impacted the local environment forever. Copper from the Berkeley helped to electrify America's post World War II economy and the rest of the developing world. Today, the Berkeley Pit holds more than 40 billion gallons of water laden with heavy metals and arsenic, and it sits at the head of the largest complex of Superfund environmental clean-up sites in the U.S. along 120 miles of the mining-impacted Clark Fork River.

This Obscura Day, the Berkeley Pit Public Education Committee and the Clark Fork Watershed Education Program will lead a tour to the Berkeley Pit and other sites in the area that show the impact of over 100 years of underground and open pit mining on the Montana landscape. The tour will be based in science, discussing the Upper Clark Fork River watershed and Butte’s position within it while demystifying the Berkeley Pit, explaining the tradition of underground mining and its evolution toward surface mining (open pit mining), and the cultural, historic, and environmental impacts and considerations of a community like Butte at a point in time when sustainability and demand for goods that rely on commodities like metal/mineral ore for cell phones, tablets, and vehicles seem at odds, but must coexist.

All of the proceeds from this tour will be donated to the Clark Fork Watershed Education Program.

Saturday, May 30; 1:00 - 4:00pm
Ticket Cost: $10
Meet-up will be at the Butte-Silverbow Chamber of Commerce
1000 George Street, Butte, MT
From here we will be traveling caravan-style to the site of the Berkeley Pit.