Once upon a time, Butte was the "richest hill on earth," producing the most wealth of any mining town in the world. But as groundwater rose up through the thousands of miles of mine shafts and a mammoth open pit mine, and metal contaminants spread throughout the area, the city's aquifer became endangered and the city faced extinction.
These days, the government and mining operators say they have things under some kind of control, but not all residents agree.
CNET News reporter Daniel Terdiman visited Butte on Road Trip 2009 to get a look at the riches and the incredible damage that come from giant mining operations.
June 28, 2013 4:00 AM PDT
Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET
| Caption by: Daniel Terdiman
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