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Geotimes
 Published by the American Geological Institute
November 2000
Newsmagazine of the Earth Sciences

 Feature

REMOTE SENSING FOR ACID MINE SITES
 
 


What: Map derived by applying a spectral angle mapping algorithm to the visible and near-infrared channels of an airborne imaging spectrometer.

Where: The Dragon Clay Pit in the Tintic Mining District

Resolution: 5 meters GSD

From: Earth Search Science Inc.ís Probe 1 data processed by Farr View Consulting.


The Dragon Mine was mined for the clay mineral halloysite and for base and precious metals. The waste materials remaining on the site today include iron oxides and acid associated jarosite (hydrated iron sulfate).

This image maps carbonates as well as iron oxide and sulfate minerals. At the north wall of the open-pit mine, light blue indicates calcite and yellow indicates hematite. The hematite also marks the east-west Dragon fault. The central red zone, which is the central waste dump, indicates surface jarosite.

Surrounding it is a jarosite-goethite mixture, appearing purple, that extends west along two mine tailings and may be associated with acid production. The jarosite commonly occurs mixed with goethite and other hydrous iron oxides. In non-buffered mine wastes (those not containing carbonates) jarosite is an indicator mineral for potential acid and toxic metals pollution. However, because of the Dragon Clay Pit is arid, the downstream transport of this type of pollution is minimal.

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