Remotely-Sensed Multispectral Reflectance Variations in Acidic Versus Near-neutral Contaminated Coal Mine Drainage in Pennsylvania

Robbins, Eleanora I. ; Anderson, John E. ; Cravotta, Charles A. III ; Nord, Gordon L. ; Slonecker, E. Terrance
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 11
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2000
Remote sensing is being tested for its ability to identify the severity of impact on streams that are subjected to contaminated mine drainage (CMD) in the Southern Anthracite Coalfield of Pennsylvania. Airborne digital multispectral video images of acidic and near-neutral CMD are being compared with field spectra, water chemistry, mineralogy, and microbiology. Spectral differences in the visible region of the electromagnetic spectrum are caused by the presence of schwertmannite in the acidic precipitates and ferrihydrite in the near- neutral precipitates. The acidic CMD averages 1,500 mg/L sulfate and has bacteria coated with schwertmannite; the near-neutral CMD averages 87 mg/L sulfate and has bacteria coated with ferrihydrite.
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