Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol
Environmental Geochemistry
Prof. D.M. Sherman

Lecture 11: Acid Mine Drainage


Acid mine drainage is a common problem throughout the world. Exposure of pyrite (FeS2) to the atmosphere results in oxidation to yield dissolved Fe2+ and H2SO4. Acidophillic, chemolithoautotrophic bacteria oxidize Fe2+ to Fe3+ which, in turn, rapidly oxidizes pyrite. In addition to acidifying rivers and lakes, AMD also releases heavy metals such as Zn and Cd.


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