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Lehigh River, below Palmerton
40 47' 76 N
75 37' 15 W

Prior to 1898, Palmerton was a small logging town. In 1898, the New Jersey Zinc Company arrived. The company built two zinc smelters along the Aquashicola Creek and used existing rail lines to transport zinc ores from New Jersey. Today, the remnants of 82 years of zinc smelting are apparent in the barren landscape. Zinc, cadmium, copper, lead, and sulfur dioxide rained down over the town and the surrounding Blue Mountain area. The entire face of Blue Mountain was so toxic that it could not support any life. Even the dead trees did not decay since there were no microorganisms to complete the decomposition process. Scientific studies were conducted to assess the damage from the zinc smelting in Palmerton, including the adverse effects to human and non-human health. Today, the soil in Palmerton is still full of toxins. However, there are signs of rejuvenation. As a result of partnership between government and environmental organizations, efforts to revegetate the mountain have been successful.

Palmerton is located on the north side of Blue Mountain, just upstream from the Lehigh Water Gap. The geology of this area is mainly shale.

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