Mineralogy and chemistry of ochre sediments from an acid mine drainage near a disused mine in Cornwall, UK
Ochre sediments from acid mine drainage in Cornwall have been investigated using x-ray diffractionn, thermal methods, infrared spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy and chemical composition. Fresh sediments consist of ferrihydrate and goethite. Large fractions of these minerals are dissolved by the ammonium oxalate treatment reflecting their poorly crystalline structure. Fresh sediments contain large amounts of surfae-absorbed SO4 (up to 9.3%) which is readily desorbed by the PO4 treatment. Goethite is the only mineral present in relatively older sediments and the mineral is well crystallized with rod-shaped morphology. Environmental conditions, such as pH and SO4 content are not favourable for the presence of schwermannite at the site. Iron minerals appear to be precipitating around filamentous algae and the shape of algae is preserved in the Fe oxide matrix. The ubiquitous presence of the algae in close association woth Fe minerals indicate their possible role in the crystallization of Fe oxides.
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