For decades, ASARCO dumped slag along I-10 near UTEP which gave us those lovely, toxic, black "mini mountains". It seems science may now have a good use for them.

The American Smelting and Refining Company, aka, ASARCO was a smelting plant that operated between Paisano and I-10, near the UTEP campus, for about 100 years.

The plant smelted lead, zinc, arsenic, cadmium and copper which greatly polluted the immediate area.

A side effect of the smelting process is waste material known as slag.

Molten metal which then must be dumped somewhere to cool and then, basically, sits there forever.

ASARCO used to dump it along I-10 near the railroad bridge that crosses I-10 between the UTEP campus and Executive Center. At night, it looked like a volcano had erupted.

Since then, the "black hills" have been slowly covered by dirt, dust, weeds, etc.

You can still see the black slag in spots though, especially right by that rail bridge.

The iconic, orange and white ASARCO smokestack .. once the tallest in the world ... was finally brought down as part of a huge cleanup effort in 2013.

A deadly reminder of days gone by that may now actually serve some good by locking away carbon.

As recent extreme weather events in the northern hemisphere have demonstrated, global heating is so far advanced that we will have to rely on some forms of carbon capture to prevent the worst impacts of the climate emergency.

Research presented at the Goldschmidt conference in Lyon, France, this month suggests that slag, the waste produced by the iron and steel industry, could be used to lock away carbon dioxide for thousands of years. -

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Slag has been used as roadway material but most just sits there ... forever.

I don't know how or if they will gather that stuff up and utilize its carbon capture potential but, it's a nice thought.

For now, it's just an ugly reminder of deadly manufacturing processes of the past that are still in use elsewhere.

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