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geologycasestudy1 - Acidic water also interacts with...

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Jonathan Grant GEOL 1330D Dr. Rhodes 2/7/10 Case Study 13.1 and 13.4 The origin of acid mine drainage exemplifies the interaction of four of the earth’s spheres at the same time. Sulfide ore bodies are a part of the lithosphere, and they are mined. When this occurs, the surface area of sulfide minerals, underground, increases because they are broken down. The increased contact to chemicals speeds up the minerals reaction with oxygen and underground surface water. Oxygen is a part of the atmosphere and the surface water is in the hydrosphere. Sulfuric acid is produced due to the chemical reactions. Bacteria, which are contained in the biosphere, flourish in the acidic environment. By deriving energy from iron, the bacteria increase the rate of their presence in the world by a million times. Heat generated throughout the processes speeds up the reactions.
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Unformatted text preview: Acidic water also interacts with aquatic life and humans; this often creates injuries. The Little Rocky Mountains in north-central Montana is the site of the Zortman-Landusky gold mine. The mountains served as the tribes; major source of drinking water in the late 19 th century. Large-scale mining began in 1979 with the Z-L gold mine. The mine was eventually a failure due to inexperience, lack of sufficient state rules, and an exaggerated production schedule. After two decades, the Canadian company produced $300 million in gold, but Montana had a $33 million cleanup bill. Leach pads were built on top of rocks that contained sulfide minerals. Acid mine draining came about from this and created a toxic cocktail which polluted the area’s streams. By the late 1980s, there were plenty of cases of lead poisoning and cancer from the residents....
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