Characterising an abandoned phosphogypsum deposit by combining radiological, geophysical, geochemical, and statistical techniques

Journal ar
  • Volumen: 216
  • Fecha: 01 September 2022
  • ISSN: 03418162
  • Source Type: Journal
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.catena.2022.106401
  • Document Type: Article
  • Publisher: Elsevier B.V.
© 2022 The Author(s)Phosphoric fertiliser has enormously contributed to agriculture; however, it generates five tonnes of phosphogypsum per ton of phosphoric acid synthesised. Phosphogypsum houses heavy metals and long-lived radioactive elements that represents an environmental issue requiring remediation. This paper presents a methodology for characterising phosphogypsum deposits using geophysical, geochemical, and statistical tools. Gamma-ray probes determined the abnormal radioactive zones within the phosphogypsum deposits while electrical resistivity tomography provided the geometry and distribution of the phosphogypsum deposits. Chemical results confirmed the high presence of heavy metals in the waste determining chromium as the most concentrated metal. Radiological measures indicate that the effective ambient dose equivalent average in the study area surface is approximately 8.5 times higher than the average for Europe. While at 1.0 m depth, in the phosphogypsum layer, the ambient dose equivalent average surpasses approximately 27 times the European average. Statistical correlation analysis supports that the radiation increases due to the uranium presence. This methodology might reduce time and cost avoiding the use of expensive traditional methods, and it is exportable to any deposit.

Author keywords

    Indexed keywords

      Funding details