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Mineralogy and chemistry of ochre sediments from an acid mine drainage near a disused mine in Cornwall, UK

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 July 2018


Balwant Singh
Affiliation:
Department of Soil Science, The University of Reading, Reading RG6 6DW
M. J. Wilson
Affiliation:
Macaulay Land Use Research Institute, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen AB15 8QH, UK
W. J. McHardy
Affiliation:
Macaulay Land Use Research Institute, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen AB15 8QH, UK
A. R. Fraser
Affiliation:
Department of Soil Science, The University of Reading, Reading RG6 6DW
G. Merrington
Affiliation:
Department of Conservation Sciences, Bournemouth University, Poole, UK

Abstract

Ochre sediments from acid mine drainage in Cornwall have been investigated using X-ray diffraction, thermal methods, infrared spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy and chemical methods in order to determine their mineralogical and chemical composition. Fresh sediments consist of ferrihydrite and goethite. Large fractions of these minerals are dissolved by the ammonium oxalate treatment reflecting their poorly crystalline structure. Fresh sediments contain large amounts of surface-adsorbed SO4 (up to 9.3%) which is readily desorbed by the PO4 treatment. Goethite is the only mineral present in relatively older sediments and the mineral is well crystallized with rod-shaped morphology. Environmental conditions, such as pH and SO4 content, are not favourable for the presence of schwertmannite at the site. Iron minerals appear to be precipitating around filamentous algae and the shape of algae is preserved in the Fe oxide matrix. The ubiquitous presence of algae in close association with Fe minerals indicate their possible role in the crystallization of Fe oxides.


Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland 1999

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