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Article

Abandoned Mine Tailings Affecting Riverbed Sediments in the Cartagena–La Union District, Mediterranean Coastal Area (Spain)

1
Department Biología y Geología, Física y Química Inorgánica, ESCET, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, C/Tulipán s/n, Móstoles, 28933 Madrid, Spain
2
Department Ingeniería Minera y Civil, Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena, Paseo Alfonso XIII, 52, Cartagena, 30203 Madrid, Spain
3
Department Petrología y Geoquímica, Fac. CC. Geológicas, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, C/Antonio Nováis s/n, 28040 Madrid, Spain
4
IMDEA Water Institute, Av/ Punto Com, 2, Parque Científico Tecnológico de la Universidad de Alcalá, Alcalá de Henares, 28805 Madrid, Spain
5
Department Ciencia y Tecnología Agraria, Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena, Paseo Alfonso XIII 52, Cartagena, 30203 Madrid, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(12), 2042; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12122042
Received: 28 May 2020 / Accepted: 23 June 2020 / Published: 25 June 2020
This study presents the results of the geoenvironmental characterization of La Matildes riverbed, affected by mine tailings in the Cartagena–La Unión district, Murcia (southeast Spain). Soils and riverbeds in this area are highly polluted. Two Electrical Resistivity Imaging (ERI) profiles were carried out to obtain information about the thickness of the deposits and their internal structure. For the mine tailings deposits of La Murla, a tributary of the El Miedo riverbed, the geophysical method imaged two different units: the upper one characterized by low resistivity values and 5–8 m thickness, correlated with the mine tailings deposits; and the lower more resistive unit corresponding to the Paleozoic metasediments bedrock. The ERI profile transverse to the Las Matildes dry riverbed revealed the existence of three different units. The uppermost one has the lowest resistivity values and corresponds to the tailings deposits discharged to the riverbeds. An intermediate unit, with intermediate resistivity values, corresponds to the riverbed sediments before the mining operations. The lower unit is more resistive and corresponds to the bedrock. Significant amounts of pyrite, sphalerite, and galena were found both in tailings and riverbed sediments. The geochemical composition of borehole samples from the riverbed materials shows significantly high contents of As, Cd, Cu, Fe, Pb, and Zn being released to the environment. Mining works have modified the natural landscape near La Unión town. Surface extraction in three open-pit mines have changed the summits of Sierra de Cartagena–La Unión. Rock and metallurgical wastes have altered the drainage pattern and buried the headwaters of ephemeral channels. The environmental hazards require remediation to minimize the environmental impact on the Mar Menor coastal lagoon, one of the most touristic areas in SE Spain. View Full-Text
Keywords: riverbed; metals; electrical resistivity imaging; tailings; Mar Menor; Cartagena–La Unión riverbed; metals; electrical resistivity imaging; tailings; Mar Menor; Cartagena–La Unión
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MDPI and ACS Style

Martín-Crespo, T.; Gómez-Ortiz, D.; Martín-Velázquez, S.; Martínez-Pagán, P.; de Ignacio-San José, C.; Lillo, J.; Faz, Á. Abandoned Mine Tailings Affecting Riverbed Sediments in the Cartagena–La Union District, Mediterranean Coastal Area (Spain). Remote Sens. 2020, 12, 2042. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12122042

AMA Style

Martín-Crespo T, Gómez-Ortiz D, Martín-Velázquez S, Martínez-Pagán P, de Ignacio-San José C, Lillo J, Faz Á. Abandoned Mine Tailings Affecting Riverbed Sediments in the Cartagena–La Union District, Mediterranean Coastal Area (Spain). Remote Sensing. 2020; 12(12):2042. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12122042

Chicago/Turabian Style

Martín-Crespo, Tomás, David Gómez-Ortiz, Silvia Martín-Velázquez, Pedro Martínez-Pagán, Cristina de Ignacio-San José, Javier Lillo, and Ángel Faz. 2020. "Abandoned Mine Tailings Affecting Riverbed Sediments in the Cartagena–La Union District, Mediterranean Coastal Area (Spain)" Remote Sensing 12, no. 12: 2042. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12122042

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