Geochemistry and Spatial Distribution of Coal Contamination in the Longyearbyen Mining Area, Svalbard

Authors: Anna Abramova*, Department of Geography, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Sergey Chernyanskii, Department of Geography, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Stanislav Ogorodov, Department of Geography, Lomonosov Moscow State University
Topics: Environment, Polar Regions, Energy
Keywords: Coals, Contamination, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), major elements (MEs), trace elements (TEs), rare earth elements (REEs), Soils, Svalbard, Spitsbergen
Session Type: Guided Poster
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 4:30 PM / 6:10 PM
Room: Roosevelt 3.5, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Svalbard is one of the world’s northernmost inhabited areas, and it has a coal mining history that covers over a century, although the contamination associated with the industry led to increasing environmental concerns. This present geochemical screening adds detail to previous work by focusing on the spatial distribution as well as the chemical composition of coal contamination. In particular, we quantified the following chemicals, some of which are toxic, in coals of Svalbard: 16 individual compounds of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, 8 major elements, 12 trace elements, and 13 rare earth elements. In Svalbard, local contamination stems both from abandoned as well as active mining facilities. The abandoned infrastructures are more numerous than the active ones because they are preserved as historical documents. They include weathered and eroded dumps near the former mines, jetties, as well as rail and cableways. Adjacent to these historic sources of contamination, hectares of mountain sides are covered with coal fragments. Modern infrastructures are mostly associated with Gruve 7, an underground coal mine. To keep track of the potential differences in impact, as it arises from active as well as abandoned infrastructures, coal samples were collected in vicinity of both. The comparison of the data obtained through chemical analysis of samples from these different types of sources allows to determine the time and locality-dependent dynamics of environmental impact from present as well as historical mining activity. The reported study was funded by RFBR according to the research project № 18-35-00696 мол_а.

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