Comparison of color, chemical and mineralogical compositions of mine drainage sediments to pigment


C. S. Kirby , S. M. Decker , N. K. Macander

Department of Geology, Bucknell University, Lewisburg PA 17837,, 570-524-1385

1999, Environmental Geology, 37, 243-254.



Forty-three untreated and actively- and passively- (wetland) treated coal mine drainage sediments and five yellow-red pigments were characterized using X-ray fluorescence (XRF), fusion-inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and tristimulus colorimeter. Primary crystalline iron-bearing phases were goethite and lepidocrocite, and iron phases converted to hematite upon heating. Quartz was nearly ubiquitous except for synthetic pigments. Gypsum, bassinite, calcite and ettringite were found in active treatment sediments. Iron concentrations from highest to lowest were synthetic pigment > wetland sediment > natural pigment > active treatment (untreated sediments varied more widely), and manganese was highest in actively-treated sediments. Loss on ignition was highest for passively-treated sediments. No clear trends were observed between quantified color parameters (L*, a*, b*, and Redness Index) and chemical compositions. Because sediments from passive treatment are similar in chemistry, mineralogy, and color to natural pigments, the mine drainage sediments may be an untapped resource for pigment.