Impacts of mining in artificial lake of Iron Quadrangle-MG: past marks and changes of the present

  • Larissa ParaguassúEmail author
  • Mariangela G. P. Leite
  • Francisco W. A. Moreira
  • Fellipe P. C. Mendonça
  • Eneida M. Eskinazi-Sant’Anna
Original Article


A locus of intense mining activity since the seventeenth century, the Iron Quadrangle, corresponds to one of the most important mineral provinces in the world. Located in Minas Gerais, Brazil, it keeps in its territory marks of past mining activities still in expansion. Such changes, recorded in water bodies of the region’s watersheds, impact not only locally, but also reach adjacent ecosystems as well as those located downstream of mining companies. In this situation, an artificial lake is found in the upper course of the Mata Porcos creek sub-basin. The area was once an old place of gold exploration in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and is currently influenced by active iron mining and inactive iron–manganese mining upstream. With the aim of evaluating this reservoir and contributing to the understanding of lentic systems under the influence of mining, this study analyzed the physical and chemical characteristics of sediments from the bottom of this lake, identifying the possible contributions of anthropic origin. Sediment samples were collected at nine points along two hydrological years and then submitted to granulometric, mineralogical and geochemical analyses. The geochemical signature of this lake is marked by As, Fe and Mn elements associated with both the local geological substrate and anthropic activities undertaken in the surroundings. Due to the high As concentrations, distribution maps were made using the IDW interpolation method to understand the distribution of this potentially toxic element that has a strong correlation with gold mining practiced for more than 300 years at the site.


Mining impacts Iron Quadrangle Artificial lakes Arsenic Sediments Environmental geochemistry 



The authors would like to thank the Foundation for Research Support of Minas Gerais (FAPEMIG) for financial support, the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) and Federal University of Ouro Preto (UFOP). Antônio Celso Torres and Adriana Trópia de Abreu for laboratory support and discussions at the Laboratory of Environmental Geochemistry of the Department of Geology—Federal University of Ouro Preto.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 31 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Larissa Paraguassú
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mariangela G. P. Leite
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Francisco W. A. Moreira
    • 3
  • Fellipe P. C. Mendonça
    • 1
    • 4
  • Eneida M. Eskinazi-Sant’Anna
    • 1
    • 3
    • 5
  1. 1.Graduate Program in Crustal Evolution and Natural ResourcesFederal University of Ouro PretoOuro PretoBrazil
  2. 2.Department of GeologyFederal University of Ouro PretoOuro PretoBrazil
  3. 3.Graduate Program in Tropical BiomesFederal University of Ouro PretoOuro PretoBrazil
  4. 4.Minas Gerais State Forestry Institute (IEF)Itacolomi State ParkOuro PretoBrazil
  5. 5.Department of Biodiversity, Evolution and EnvironmentFederal University of Ouro PretoOuro PretoBrazil

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