Bulletin 034

Bulletin 034

BUL 034

Physical Environment of an Abandoned Strip Mine Near Cadomin, Alberta

Author(s) Root, J.D. Date 1976-01-01

An investigation of revegetation at an abandoned coal strip mine near Cadomin, Alberta, shows that soil moisture deficiency and wind are ajor factors inhibiting plant growth on disturbed ground in this area. High winds in fall and winter months act to reduce soil moisture, inhibit seed lodgment, remove fine particles, and abrade egetation. Suggested remedial measures include erection of snow ences, compaction of spoil piles, mixing of organic matter with poil, and roughening of spoil surfaces after compaction. Shelter belts should be left standing during the mining phase.

Geological observations at the minesite included weathering rates and groundwater analysis. Spoil weathers rapidly by physical processes; chemical weathering in the 20 years that have elapsed since bandonment is not significant. On spoil pile slopes, fine materials ove downward rapidly and continuously, while the piles themselves are stable. Infiltration is high, runoff low.Groundwater quality is high and apparently little affected by passage through spoil.

These findings may be applicable generally in the Rocky Mountain oothills of Alberta and British Columbia, wherever coal is extracted from the Luscar Formation or its equivalents, and where chinook foehn) winds are frequent.

Root, J.D. (1976): Physical environment of an abandoned strip mine near Cadomin, Alberta; Alberta Research Council, ARC/AGS Bulletin 34, 40 p.