Monitoring the Extent of Contamination from Acid Mine Drainage in the Iberian Pyrite Belt (SW Spain) Using Hyperspectral Imagery

Research areas:
Year:
2011
Authors:
Journal:
REMOTE SENSING
Volume:
3
Number:
10
Pages:
2166-2186
Month:
October
ISSN:
2072-4292
Abstract:
Monitoring mine waste from sulfide deposits by hyperspectral remote sensing can be used to predict surface water quality by quantitatively estimating acid drainage and metal contamination on a yearly basis. In addition, analysis of the mineralogy of surface crusts rich in soluble salts can provide a record of annual humidity and temperature. In fact, temporal monitoring of salt efflorescence from mine wastes at a mine site in the Iberian Pyrite Belt (Huelva, Spain) has been achieved using hyperspectral airborne Hymap data. Furthermore, climate variability estimates are possible based on oxidation stages derived from well-known sequences of minerals, by tracing sulfide oxidation intensity using archive spectral libraries. Thus, airborne and spaceborne hyperspectral remote sensing data can be used to provide a short-term record of climate change, and represent a useful set of tools for assessing environmental geoindicators in semi-arid areas. Spectral and geomorphological indicators can be monitored on a regular basis through image processing, supported by field and laboratory spectral data. In fact, hyperspectral image analysis is one of the methods selected by the Joint Research Centre of the European Community (Ispra, Italy) to study abandoned mine sites, in order to assess the enforcement of the European Mine Waste Directive (2006/21/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council 15 March 2006) on the management of waste from extractive industries (Official Journal of the European Union, 11 April 2006). The pyrite belt in Andalucia has been selected as one of the core mission test sites for the PECOMINES II program (Cracow, November 2005), using imaging spectroscopy; and this technique is expected to be implemented as a monitoring tool by the Environmental Net of Andalucia (REDIAM, Junta de Andalucia, Spain).