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Seismic Assessment of Hydrological Parameters Associated with Mine Waste
AdvisorBreitmeyer, Ronald J.
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Abandoned mine workings have long been a source of acid mine drainage (AMD) and potential natural resource contamination. The Jones-Kincaid Abandoned Mine Land (AML) site, located within Perry Canyon near Pyramid Lake, Nevada, was chosen as a case study site to evaluate the utility of seismic methods for predicting temporally variable subsurface hydrologic conditions in mine waste rock that has shown potential for environmental risk due to contaminant transport. While borehole samples can supply important and informative point-scale hydrologic characteristics, accurate representation of these parameters on a field scale can be demanding and expensive due to the amount of data collection necessary to capture spatial variability. Seismic methods have shown potential as an alternative characterization and provide an efficient, non-invasive and inexpensive means to capture field-scale spatial variability. Six seismic surveys were performed on the Jones-Kincaid AML site to collect P-wave and S-wave velocity data over the span of approximately 10 months from June 8, 2018 to March 31, 2019, spanning dry and wet seasons. Field results were combined with empirical relationships found from ultrasonic lab-testing to form water content profiles to enhance, calibrate, and constrain current and future hydrologic models in the area and assist in water balance cover design. This case study illustrates the use of seismic methods to predict volumetric water content as well as track the temporal variability of fluid in the subsurface due to meteorological conditions. Modeled results within the waste rock estimate reasonable water content values and track well with local meteorological trends, largely showing expected water content increases and decreases due to seasonal wetting and drying periods.