ARSF project WM06/12: Monitoring and modelling the geomorphological and geochemical recovery of the Agrio-Guadiamar river system after the Azencollar tailings dam failure. PI: G.Ferrier. Site: Aznalcollar-Sanlucar and Sanlucar-Donana.
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In April 1998 the Aznalcollar tailings dam in southwest Spain failed flooding the Agrio and Guadiamar rivers with an estimated 7.5 million m3 of acidic water and heavy metal bearing tailings. Following the spill, intensive clean-up operations were conducted which removed more than 7 million m3 of soils and sediment. The entire Agrio-Guadiamar valley floor was transformed as a result of the spill and clean-up operations. The principal aim of this project is to assess the geomorphological-geochemical recovery of the Agrio-Guadiamar River system eight years after the 1998 tailings dam failure. The range of remote sensing dataset requested for this project has the potential to be an invaluable methodology for monitoring and modelling of the environmental impact of mine waste from past and present mining on river systems. This project will investigate the use of hyperspectral remote sensing as an operational methodology for identifying the distribution and relative concentrations of (i) mine waste, (ii) secondary iron minerals, (iii) alteration clay minerals and (iv) mine-waste induced vegetation stress. The utility of an integrated LiDAR and aerial photography dataset in resolving the geomorphological controls on the dispersal, storage and remobilisation of mine waste will also be studied.
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