This month I visited a strange and interesting place in Romania, in Apuseni Mountains. This place is called Geamana and was an old village that today lies under tones of industrial waste. You have to follow a beautiful and wild path in the forest to find this village, but when you arrive there in front of your eyes raise a giant lake. It’s an apocalyptic image of a village flooded in mud surrounded by a beautiful mountain landscape. Most people said that the place is haunted, maybe it is, but nobody died there in the period of the disaster. Maybe the place is haunted by the thoughts of hundreds people who lost there homes and cursed the ones who did this ecological disaster.
Everything started in 1977 when dictator Nicolae Ceausescu decided to exploit a huge underground copper deposit. The wast from Rosia Poieni copper pit was discharged and the whole village was sunk and turned into a decanting lake. The process slowly progressed in time and 400 families were evacuated from Geamana and their village.
The slurry, which continues to pour into the valley today, is a result of „froth flotation,” a process used by Rosia Poieni and most other copper mines around the world. Rock rich in copper is ground into powder, then put into baths of bubbling water. The hydrophobic copper flakes cling to air bubbles, creating a coppery froth that is skimmed off the top of the baths. The remaining slurry is discarded. It is this waste that drowned Geamana. And the lake continues to rise, climbing the walls of the valley at the rate of around 1 vertical meter each year. Along with the slurry from the mine, some sections of the runoff lake have turned red as a result of „acid mine drainage.” The acidic red water is a result of rain and springwater running through the minerals exposed by the mine. (source: http://www.rferl.org/a/romania-sinking-village).
Today, only a few families live in this area, and they are almost completely isolated. From the Geamana village remains few house roofs and the church that can be seen in the middle of the lake.