Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Sources and controls of greenhouse gases and heavy metals in mine water: A continuing climate legacy
Author(s): Brown, Alison
Bass, Adrian
Garnett, Mark
Skiba, Ute
Pickard, Amy
Contact Email:
Keywords: Mine Water
Carbon dioxide
Heavy metals
Greenhouse gas
Issue Date: 1-Jan-2024
Date Deposited: 27-Feb-2024
Citation: Brown A, Bass A, Garnett M, Skiba U & Pickard A (2024) Sources and controls of greenhouse gases and heavy metals in mine water: A continuing climate legacy. <i>Science of the Total Environment</i>, 906, Art. No.: 167371.
Abstract: Water pollution arising from abandoned coal mines, is second only to sewage as a source of freshwater pollution and in coalfield catchments mine water can be the dominant pollutant, with oxidised iron smothering the bed of receiving rivers. This study measured greenhouse gases in mine water outflows from sixteen sites across the Midland Valley in Scotland. Radiogenic and stable carbon isotopes measurements (Δ14C and δ13C) were used to determine the sources of both methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) produced within the flooded mine environment. Concentrations of CH4-C ranged from 20 to 215 μg l− 1 and CO2-C from 30 to 120 mg l− 1, with CO2 accounting for 97 % of the mine water global warming potential. Methane origins included 51 % modern biogenic, 41 % thermogenic and 8 % from hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis of coal. The most significant in verse impact on biogenic CH4 concentrations was sulphate, most likely due to sulphate reducing bacteria out competing methanogens. Carbon dioxide origins included 64 % from the dissolution of limestone, 21 % from terrestrial organic carbon and 15 % from coal. The limestone derived CO2 was positively correlated with high sulphate concentrations, which resulted in sulphuric acid and caused the dissolution of carbonate from lime stone. The mine waters experienced significant carbonate buffering becoming only slightly acidic (pH 6–7), but with significant loss of inorganic carbon. The mine waters had low dissolved oxygen (6–25 %) and high dissolved iron (2 to 65 mg l − 1) and manganese (0.5 to 5 mg l− 1) concentrations. Dissolved greenhouse gases from abandoned mines were estimated as 0.27 +0.31 − 0.18 % of Scotland's global warming potential. This novel work has contributed information about the sources and controls of greenhouse gas fluxes in mine waters and identified the need to quantify and report this emissions term.
DOI Link: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.167371
Rights: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons CC-BY license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. You are not required to obtain permission to reuse this article. To request permission for a type of use not listed, please contact Elsevier Global Rights Department.
Licence URL(s):

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
1-s2.0-S0048969723059983-main.pdfFulltext - Published Version8.63 MBAdobe PDFView/Open

This item is protected by original copyright

A file in this item is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons

Items in the Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

The metadata of the records in the Repository are available under the CC0 public domain dedication: No Rights Reserved

If you believe that any material held in STORRE infringes copyright, please contact providing details and we will remove the Work from public display in STORRE and investigate your claim.