Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Impact of Coal Mining on the Moisture Movement in a Vadose Zone in Open-pit Mine Areas

Version 1 : Received: 20 February 2021 / Approved: 24 February 2021 / Online: 24 February 2021 (09:55:58 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Lian, H.; Yi, H.; Yang, Y.; Wu, B.; Wang, R. Impact of Coal Mining on the Moisture Movement in a Vadose Zone in Open-Pit Mine Areas. Sustainability 2021, 13, 4125. Lian, H.; Yi, H.; Yang, Y.; Wu, B.; Wang, R. Impact of Coal Mining on the Moisture Movement in a Vadose Zone in Open-Pit Mine Areas. Sustainability 2021, 13, 4125.

Journal reference: Sustainability 2021, 13, 4125
DOI: 10.3390/su13084125

Abstract

Long-term dewatering of groundwater is a necessary operation for mining safety in open-pit coal mines, while extensive dewatering might cause ecological problems due to dramatical changes of moisture movement in the soil, especially in ecological-fragile areas. This paper presents a quantitative methodology to evaluate the impact of the coal mining operation on moisture movement in the vadose zone by taking the Baorixile open-pit coal mine as an example. A long-term in-situ experiments(from 2004 to 2018), laboratory analysis and numerical modelling were conducted to analyse the mechanisms and relationship among the dropping groundwater level, the vadose-zone moistures, and the ecological responses in the grassland area. The experiment data and modelling results suggest that groundwater level dropping during open-pit mining operation has limited influence on the vadose zone, exhibiting a variation of capillary water zone within a depth of 3 m while the vadose zone and soil water zone were at least 16 m deep. The critical evaporation depth of ground water is 8 m. The long-term influence radius of groundwater dewatering is about 2.72 km during the Baorixile mining operation, and the groundwater level change mainly influences the lower part of the intermediate vadose zone and the capillary water zone below 16 m, with little influence on the moisture contents in the soil water zone where the roots of shallow vegetation grow. The results from this study provide useful insight for sustainable development of coal mining in ecological-fragile areas.

Subject Areas

open-pit coal mine; dewatering; groundwater level; vadose zone; moisture movement; capillary water

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