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Video - Waste rock detection in wetlands associated with gold mine tailings. Presentation by Peter White

Peter White, Environmental Physicist and Research Scientist for Canada Centre for Remote Sensing, discusses environmental contamination issues in the wetlands of Nova Scotia stemming from gold mining in the early 1900s, and detection of contamination with hyperspectral remote sensing.

Pre-1940s gold mining produced over 3 million tonnes of waste product in NS, most of which slurried into local wetlands, which annual flooding and erosion continues to contaminate. Hyperspectral remote sensing is valuable because it generates information about a surface from spectral features and provides a regional description of the surrounding environment, which can then be validated with field campaigns. This tool can determine the health of vegetation based on colour band and shape of spectral features, and was used to sample spectra from the sample sites.

Researchers were able to find previously unknown tailings, as well as previously mined sites, and expected tailings with this technology. Previous to this research, tailings sites were found based on where there were assumed to be, and soil samples were taken. This current method found sites that were contaminated due to the change in water flow because of beaver dams.

This same technology will be used in the Fort McMurray area to generate data about water stress, chlorophyll stress, vegetation stress, and remediation and sensor simulations. This presentation was a part of the LiDAR/SAR wetland and water monitoring workshop in June of 2014.