MATEC Web Conf.
Volume 337, 2021PanAm-Unsat 2021: 3rd Pan-American Conference on Unsaturated Soils
|Number of page(s)||8|
|Section||Tailings and Waste Disposal|
|Published online||26 April 2021|
Plot test in a 50-year abandoned mine tailings dam
Instituto de Investigaciones Antisísmicas (IDIA), Universidad Nacional de San Juan, Av. Libertador Gral. San Martín oeste 1290, San Juan, Argentina.
* Corresponding author: email@example.com
Knowing the evolution of water content in a tailings dam is essential when analysing its stability. The case study is a small tailings dam abandoned more than 50 years ago, located in the Andes region of San Juan province, Argentina, where the climate is arid. This paper presents the results obtained in a plot test to study the interaction of tailings with the atmosphere, and to explain the reasons that generate internal zones in the dams with surprisingly high degrees of saturation, despite the strong water deficit of the site. The plot was hydraulically isolated on the four lateral faces where ten capacitive sensors were installed at different depths (volumetric moisture, matrix suction and temperature). At the beginning of the test, a major rainfall event was simulated with a sprinkler irrigation system. The plot was then allowed to interact freely with the atmosphere for an additional period of one and a half years. The records obtained suggest that the stratigraphy of the hydraulically deposited tailings has a preponderant influence on the interaction with the atmosphere. Heterogeneous flow phenomena and multiple capillary barriers during the infiltration and evaporation processes, respectively, appear to control the long-term moisture state of the tailings dam.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2021
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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