Zapico Alonso, Ignacio

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First Name
Last Name
Zapico Alonso
Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Faculty / Institute
Ciencias Geológicas
Geodinámica, Estratigrafía y Paleontología
Geodinámica Externa
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Now showing 1 - 7 of 7
  • Publication
    Transporte de sedimentos y restauración geomorfológica en la zona minera del parque natural del Alto Tajo (Guadalajara, España)
    (Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 2017-12-13) Zapico Alonso, Ignacio; Martín Duque, José Francisco; Laronne, Jonathan B.
    La minería genera importantes afecciones sobre el medio ambiente, sobre todo porque sus escorrentías suelen contener altas concentraciones de sedimentos. La contaminación asociada puede ser química o física, siendo los drenajes ácidos los más estudiados. Sin embargo, la contaminación física debida a escorrentías mineras ha recibido menos atención. Cuando la minería coexiste con otras fuentes de sedimentos, es preciso adquirir una amplia comprensión del conjunto de procesos de erosión y de transporte de sedimentos. Se supone que todos estos impactos de raíz hidrológica y erosivo-sedimentaria deberían evitarse con buenas prácticas de restauración minera. No obstante, son numerosos los trabajos que demuestran los fallos recurrentes del método más ampliamente usado: sistemas talud-berma, o terrazas. Y por ello ha surgido la restauración geomorfológica, basada en diseñar y construir geoformas naturales, estables y funcionales, organizadas en cuencas hidrográficas...
  • Publication
    Baseline to evaluate off-sitesuspended sediment-related mining effects in the Alto Tajo Natural Park, Spain
    (Wiley, 2017-01) Zapico Alonso, Ignacio; Laronne, Jonathan; Martín Moreno, Cristina; Martín Duque, José Francisco; Ortega, Ana; Sánchez Castillo,Lázaro
    Mining is a human activity with considerable environmental impact. To evaluate such impacts, international laws require undertaking local studies based on direct sampling to establish baseline conditions of parameters modified by human activities. Mining takes place near the Alto Tajo Natural Park, where a suspended sediment concentration (SSC) baseline is required to determine whether mining affects water quality. To this end, we have monitored the Tajo River and its tributary the Tajuelo following Before–After Control-Impact (BACI) techniques, recommended by Australian and New Zealand laws, requiring a specific method based on continuous monitoring and sampling to enable evaluation of SSCs. An SSC baseline has been defined at stations situated upstream of the mining area and compared with those downstream. The highest detected SSC upstream of the Tajuelo mines was 24 g l−1 whereas the highest simultaneous downstream value was 391 g l−1, more than one order of magnitude higher than the supposed baseline (24 g l−1). Additionally, this value is 1000 times more than the average concentration of 25 mg l−1, used by the European Union until 2015, to guarantee the quality of salmonid waters. Following a BACI approach, a statistically significant SSC impact has been identified. The mined areas are the only source that can explain this increase. This is the first instance that such an increase and baseline have been found using this method. BACI is a simple and reliable method recommended for studying degraded areas rather than an irrelevant, fixed standard as included in most international laws.
  • Publication
    The environmental and geomorphological impacts of historical gold mining in the Ohinemuri and Waihou river catchments, Coromandel, New Zealand
    (Elsevier, 2017-10-15) Clement,Alastair J.H.; Nováková, Tereza; Hudson-Edwards, Karen A.; Fuller, Ian C.; Macklin, Mark G.; Fox, Elizabeth G.; Zapico Alonso, Ignacio
    Between 1875 and 1955 approximately 250,000 Mg yr− 1 of mercury-, arsenic-, and cyanide-contaminated mine tailings were discharged directly into the Ohinemuri River and its tributaries, in the Coromandel Region, North Island, New Zealand. A devastating flood on 14 January 1907 deposited large amounts of mine waste across the floodplain of the Ohinemuri and Waihou rivers in the vicinity of the township of Paeroa. The 1907 mine-waste flood deposit was located as a dirty yellow silt in cores and floodplain profiles, with a thickness ranging from 0.15–0.50 m. Geochemical analysis of the mine waste shows elevated concentrations of Pb (~ 200–570 mg kg− 1) and As (~ 30–80 mg kg− 1), compared to early Holocene background concentrations (Pb < 30 mg kg− 1; As < 17 mg kg− 1). Bulk sediment samples recovered from the river channel and overbank deposits also show elevated concentrations of Pb (~ 110 mg kg− 1), Zn (~ 140–320 mg kg− 1), Ag (~ 3 mg kg− 1), and Hg (~ 0.4 mg kg− 1). Using the mine-waste deposit as a chronological marker shows that sedimentation rates increased from ~ 0.2 mm yr− 1 in the early Holocene, to 5.5–26.8 mm yr− 1 following the 1907 flood. Downstream trends in the thickness of the flood deposit show that local-scale geomorphic factors are a significant influence on the deposition of mine waste in such events. Storage of mine waste is greatest in the upstream reaches of the floodplain. The volume of mine waste estimated to be stored in the Ohinemuri floodplain is ~ 1.13 M m3, an order of magnitude larger than recent well-publicised tailings-dam failures, such as the 1996 South America Porco, 2000 Romanian Baia Mare and Baia Borsa accidents, and constituted, and was recognised at the time, a significant geomorphological and environmental event. The mine-waste material remains in the floodplain today, representing a sizable legacy store of contaminant metals and metalloids that pose a long-term risk to the Ohinemuri and Waihou ecosystems.
  • Publication
    A descriptive and quantitative approach regarding erosion and development of landforms on abandoned mine tailings: New insights and environmental implications from SE Spain
    (Elsevier, 2015-06-15) Martín Duque, José Francisco; Zapico Alonso, Ignacio; Oyarzun Muñoz, Roberto; López García, José Ángel; Cubas Domínguez, M. Paloma
    The San Cristóbal–Perules mining site in Mazarrón in southeast Spain was subjected to about a hundred years of intense mining activity for lead, silver, and zinc. Metallurgical operations (smelting, calcination, gravity concentration) carried out during the late nineteenth century–early twentieth century induced significant land transformation, and the most conspicuous wastes of this period consist of a chaotic piling of ‘old’ tailing deposits. Later on, during the mid-twentieth century, ‘modern’ tailings resulting from froth flotation were accumulated filling small valleys; these latter valley-fill tailings rose sequentially according to the upstream construction method, progressively raising the level of the dam during the process. Once abandoned, both types of tailing deposits underwent severe erosion, resulting in a mosaic of erosional and sedimentary landforms developed upon (e.g., gully formation) and within them (e.g., piping). We made an inventory and classification of these landforms. Our study shows the geomorphic work to reestablish a new steady state between the tailings deposits and the local erosive conditions. This scenario implies several hazards related to the extremely high heavy metal contents of these tailings and the geomorphic instability of the deposits. We also quantified the tailings tonnage and erosion that occurred at one of the tailings dams (El Roble). As shown by an oblique aerial photograph taken in 1968, this dam had a terraced topography, whereas in 2013 this morphology had evolved into a badland-type relief with deep parallel gullies. By recognizing and surveying specific, remnant points along the benches and outslopes of the older terraced topography, we were able to build up a first digital elevation model (DEM1) reflecting the initial topography. A second DEM, this time showing the present topography, allowed quantification of erosion via Material Loss = DEM1 − DEM2. This yields an erosion rate (1968–2009) of 151.8 Mg (MT) ha− 1 y− 1, which matches well typical values for erosion of mined areas, commonly above 100 Mg (MT) ha− 1 y− 1. Abandoned mine tailing deposits are extremely common in the semiarid scenarios of the SW USA, Australia, Chile, and Peru. Given the similarities of these scenarios with SE Spain, the example from Mazarrón may provide useful new insights regarding the erosion and geomorphic evolution of such tailing deposits. These matters should be addressed in key environmental actions such as mine closure plans and land reclamation projects. A solution may come via restoration of these deposits through landform design involving the building up of stable mature landscapes, which in turn can withstand erosion much more easily.
  • Publication
    Geomorphic rehabilitation in Europe: recognition as best available technology and its role in LIFE projects
    (2019) Martín Duque, José Francisco; Tejedor, M.; Martín Moreno, Cristina; Nicolau Ibarra, José Manuel; Zapico Alonso, Ignacio; Fourie, A. B.; Tibbett, M.
    Geomorphic rehabilitation ([GR], also known as geomorphic reclamation or geomorphic restoration) is a general term to describe alternative methods and procedures to conventional mine rehabilitation. The main aim of GR is to replicate ‘natural’ landforms for the new conditions after mining and to restore functionality and diversity of ecosystems at degraded sites. The correct application of the GR technique ensures visual integration with surrounding landscapes. Although GR is a broad term, referring to any geomorphic restoration of land, GR is often synonymous with fluvial GR, mostly following the GeoFluvTM-Natural Regrade method. This paper describes how and why the application of GR through GeoFluv-Natural Regrade in Spain since 2009 has attracted formal recognition by the European Commission (EC) of the European Union (EU) as one, among others, of a catalogue of best available techniques (BATs) for the management of waste from extractive industries, in accordance with the European Directive 2006/21/EC. GR has been recognised as BAT at the EU for multiple reasons, including mine site monitoring results that demonstrate increased physical stability with minimised erosion from stormwater and snowmelt runoff; natural hydrological function being established; the variability within the formed landform promotes ecological diversity for vegetation and wildlife communities; construction and short and long-term maintenance and repair costs are minimised; and visual impact of the mined landscape is reduced. This paper describes also the role of GeoFluv-Natural Regrade GR in the L’Instrument Financier pour l’Environnement (LIFE) program, which is the EU’s most important funding instrument addressing environment and climate action. A focus is provided on the LIFE TECMINE project, described in detail, since it is the most recent and complete GeoFluv-Natural Regrade example in Europe. The TECMINE project is a geomorphic-based ecological restoration project in the Valencia province, within the Iberian Mountain Range and where conventional mine rehabilitation practice, based on gradient terraces, shows general and widespread failure. The demonstration project is fostered by the Administration of the Valencia Region, which seeks to test innovative techniques (GR, micro-catchments, soil amendments and new protocols of revegetation) for mine rehabilitation, promote improved practices and disseminate the best practice output through their development and analysis. Testing GR is the main focus of the project. The application of GR at the TECMINE project included (a) finding ‘natural’ and ‘stable’ landforms and landscapes to be used as reference or analogues for replication in GR, although difficult, was possible due to ancestral land transformation; (b) the steep terrain, characteristic of the Iberian Range, challenged the formation of GR GeoFluv-Natural Regrade designs, but the project demonstrated that they can be implemented in that mountain setting; (b) the mining company reported similar cost estimations for this alternative GR rehabilitation (as-built) as that for a conventional restoration design (projected); (c) a holistic approach to GR, not dealing only with topography, allowed the identification and use of limestone colluvium as an adequate growth media for initiating soil development; this solution not used before for rehabilitation in this region provided a clear and advanced contribution from the project.
  • Publication
    The Ribagorda sand gully (east-central Spain): Sediment yield and human-induced origin
    (Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam, 2014) Martín Moreno, Cristina; Fidalgo Hijano, C.; Martín Duque, José Francisco; González Martín, J.A.; Zapico Alonso, Ignacio; Laronne, Jonathan
    Gullies are developed under different climatic conditions and lithologies; however, those formed on sands have been scarcely described. This paper reports the study of the Ribagorda sand gully, 2.57 ha in area (east-central Spain). The main objectives were to characterize and quantify its geomorphic dynamics and to trace its origin. We described the landforms of the gully and measured the surface strength of the sand. We monitored, for six years, the filling of the storage areas of three check dams built downstream from the gully, and related it with rainfall characteristics. We also described the nature of the sediments trapped by the dams and estimated the amount of sediment eroded since the gully formation. Finally, we consulted historical records and maps to determine past land uses and transformations that may have affected the origin of the gully. The study shows a high diversity of landforms, denoting active processes, consistent with a measured mean annual sediment yield of 114 Mg ha−1 yr−1. A statistically significant relationship exists between the mass of sediment (Mg) and: 1) the total rainfall (mm) (P = 0.0007) or 2) the analysed rainfall intensities. Among five identified facies in the sedimentarywedge, the sandy ones are predominant. The total amount of sediment eroded by the Ribagorda gully since its originwas 962,800Mg. The results are unequivocal signs of an intense geomorphic activity within the gully, with an alluvial-fan type deposition in the dams.We interpret that the Ribagorda gully was initiated by deforestation after the 13th century, when forests began to be intensively logged, and before the 18th century,when the gullywas first indirectly described in print. The age, origin, evolution and dynamics of this gully indicate that this landscape is currently evolving towards a new steady state, after human disturbances over centuries. Given the gully evolution and local extent, we suggest that no correction measures are needed for its management.
  • Publication
    Morpho-textural implications to bedload flux and texture in the sand-gravel ephemeral Poveda Gully
    (Elsevier, 2018-12-01) Zapico Alonso, Ignacio; Laronne, Jonathan; Lucía Vela, Ana; Martín Duque, José Francisco
    We report on channel morpho-texture and bedload transport in a natural, steep, sand-gravel ephemeral channel draining the small Poveda Gully watershed in the mining area of the Alto Tajo Natural Park, Spain. First-ever continuous bedload flux and texture monitoring in a transitional sand-gravel environment was undertaken by two independent Reid-type slot samplers. Morphological changes in the feeder reach have been quantified by TLS (terrestrial laser scanning) and SfM (structure from motion) technologies. We identified a pattern in channel-bed morphology and texture (morpho-texture): when the channel is incised its texture is coarser, otherwise sand-filling occurs. These changes determine bedload flux and texture: sand fill brings rise to high fluxes and fine-grained bedload, whereas incision caused by evacuation of sand leaves a sandy-gravel surface with lower bedload fluxes and coarser texture. A video camera recording during events allowed identification of dramatic changes in bedload flux and texture owing to the appearance and erosion of bars, supplying field evidence to explain the difficulty in the prediction of bedload flux at short time intervals.