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Nova scientia

On-line version ISSN 2007-0705


MIRANDA-AVILES, Raúl; PUY-ALQUIZA, María Jesús  and  LI, Yanmei. Discrimination of sediments contaminated with mine tailings using quartz grain shape. Nova scientia [online]. 2015, vol.7, n.13, pp.66-84. ISSN 2007-0705.

This paper presents a method to identify mine tailings in sediments and / or soils through digital image analysis and shape parameters of quartz. The method was applied to tailings, natural and anthropogenic sediments from the Guanajuato Mining District. The parameter that better discriminates the three groups of quartz (tailings, anthropogenic and natural) was the circularity (C). The (C) from natural quartz is 0.73, while quartz from tailings has averaged 0.64 and anthropogenic between 0.66 and 0.67. The methodology can be applied to identify old tailings deposits covered by the urbanized areas in old mining districts, where there are no precise data on its distribution, as well as in areas of cultivated soils potentially containing tailings than can provide metals. Another potential application might be in soil profiles together with the soil geochemistry, allowing interpolation in tailings horizons without geochemical samples.

Keywords : tailings; shape factor; quartz; image analysis; ImageJ; Guanajuato mining district.

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