Department or Program

Geology

Abstract

Mascot Mine was opened in Gorham, New Hampshire in 1881 and closed in 1885. The lead mine was briefly opened for less than a year in 1906 marking the final closing of the mine. However the mining impacts can still be seen today. The purpose of this study was to investigate the environmental impacts the lead mine had on the surrounding environment. A sediment core as well as water samples were gathered in fall 2019 at Mascot Pond which sits directly below the mine in contact with the mines tailings piles. The sediment core gathered was 47 cm long, containing sediments corelating to pre-mine operation. From 47cm to 40cm the sediment had an average lead concentration value of 26.3 ± 20.05 mg/kg. Given the known baseline lead concentrations for the Appalachian region of 15.3±17.5 mg/kg this section of the sediment core was classified as “pre-mining” (>1881). Following lead concentrations significantly increased to the maximum value of 3918 mg/kg at the 34 cm. Given the severity in the increase in concentrations it is clear that anthropogenic mining was involved. Water samples from Mascot Pond had an average pH value of 5.03 verses a nearby stream having a pH value of 6.70. Eight other metals were examined throughout the entirety of the sediment core. These metal concentrations all showed baseline levels at the bottom of the sediment core than a significant increase to non-natural levels around 35  2 cm. The processes seen at Mascot Pond can be attributed to chemical weathering of the material associated with the mine. The relative acidic water of the pond as well as extremely high metal concentrations are indicative of a dissociation processes. The overall scale of mining at the Mascot Mine is relatively small compared to some mines across the world, however a clear impact can be seen on the local environment.

Level of Access

Restricted: Embargoed [Open Access After Expiration]

First Advisor

Beverly Johnson

Date of Graduation

5-2020

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Number of Pages

44

Embargoed

Available to all on Monday, May 31, 2021

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