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Hydrochemical and isotopic tracing of mixing dynamics and water quality evolution under pumping conditions in the mine shaft of the abandoned Frances Colliery, Scotland

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Paul Younger


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Since 1995, when pumps were withdrawn from deep mines in East Fife (Scotland), mine waters have been rebounding throughout the coalfield. Recently, it has become necessary to pump and treat these waters to prevent their uncontrolled emergence at the surface. However, even relatively shallow pumping to surface treatment lagoons of the initially chemically-stratified mine water from a shaft in the coastal Frances Colliery during two dynamic step-drawdown tests to establish the hydraulic characteristics of the system resulted in rapid breakdown of the stratification within 24 h and a poor pumped water quality with high dissolved Fe loading. Further, data are presented here of hydrochemical and isotopic sampling of the extended pump testing lasting up to several weeks. The use in particular of the environmental isotopes δ18O, δ2H, δ34S, 3H, 13C and 14C alongside hydrochemical and hydraulic pump test data allowed characterisation of the Frances system dynamics, mixing patterns and water quality sources feeding into this mineshaft under continuously pumped conditions. The pumped water quality reflects three significant components of mixing: shallow freshwater, seawater, and leakage from the surface treatment lagoons. In spite of the early impact of recirculating lagoon waters on the hydrochemistries, the highest Fe loadings in the longer-term pumped waters are identified with a mixed freshwater-seawater component affected by pyrite oxidation/melanterite dissolution in the subsurface system. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Elliot T, Younger PL

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Applied Geochemistry

Year: 2007

Volume: 22

Issue: 12

Pages: 2834-2860

ISSN (print): 0883-2927

ISSN (electronic): 1872-9134

Publisher: Pergamon


DOI: 10.1016/j.apgeochem.2007.07.007


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