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Author Topic: Health effects of open chalk quarrying  (Read 13783 times)

Offline Vadermort

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Health effects of open chalk quarrying
« on: 18/05/2006 01:24:45 »
Hey guys,
Im doing the IB Diploma Extended Essay on The Health Effects of Chalk Quarrying in China. Next week i will be going up to one of these quarries to collect samples of the dirt left behind. Can you guys help suggest what i can do to these sand samples to determine whats in them?
Some kind of chemical test?
(i have thought about soaking the sediment in water and letting it settle...then what?)Maybe testing for some Ions or metals? Dont worry, I have a Chem lab at my disposal.
All ideas are welcome.

Three Cheers!

b.s


 

Offline JimBob

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Re: Health effects of open chalk quarrying
« Reply #1 on: 18/05/2006 02:54:37 »
Chalk is "chalk" because it, by definition, is a form of calcium carbonate. CaCO3. Disolve the calcium carbonate in a weak hydrochloric acid and find out how muck clay (shale) and/or sand is in the rock. Make sure the acid is enough to dissolve all the rock. Do all of the chemistry calculations so the Ca & carbonate will be completely in solution. Moles and all of that good stuff.

Magnesium is a natural constituent of chalk. The molecule often substitutes for Calcium.

 



The mind is like a parachute. It works best when open.  -- A. Einstein
 

Offline Vadermort

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Re: Health effects of open chalk quarrying
« Reply #2 on: 18/05/2006 05:23:39 »
Yeah...
Magnesium has negative health effects?
Ill have to use the mol mass ratio right? mass of the muck(will it be left behind?)and the mass original sample to see how much actual dirt or clay is in it?
If magnesium from the chalk replaces the calcium while in the soultion, then it makes the change from CaCO3 To MgCO3? does magnesium carbonate have any health effects? what else? maybe the LD50 for chalk or MgCO3?
Also would analysing water samples from rivers help?


b.s
 

Offline JimBob

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Re: Health effects of open chalk quarrying
« Reply #3 on: 18/05/2006 19:35:47 »
Magnesium is part of your bones and not toxic. I would think that the fine sand fraction of the chalk is the most significant health risk. Esapecially when the chalk has been disolved and the wind picks the small sand. Reseaarch the diseses that silica can cause.

Fighure the mol mass of the whole thing assuming it was all calcium carbonate to find out the minimum amount of acid to use - don't use something very active, such as sulfuric. Hydrochloric dilute is the best. Ask yourself what will the reaction be that allows the CaCO3 to go into solution. Ca-MgCO3 is the real world formula for chalk, CaCO3 is the ideal formula. The calcium and magnesium ions act the same in a chemical reaction, the only difference is a slower reaction for the Mg.

Your right about mass of muck vs. original mass, etc. Let me know what you plan and I'll give you some feedback. Then test solution for heavy meatals. Research metals and find out which are toxic and what their toxicity levels are. Then try to find them in your samples. Need to more than one sample. See if you can go into the quarry and take small samples from different levels - compare results. Then ask yourself if the metals are part of the original rock (do they occur easily in chalk) or were they deposited by water percolating through the rock.

As for the samnd sample, if I were doing it I would sort the sample by screens -  

I would like you to look up chalk and tell me how it is formed tomorrow. You will need to do this for your paper anyway. In fact you will need to do a lot of filling in for your paper to get a decent grade.

Hope this gives you some idea. Time to work!



The mind is like a parachute. It works best when open.  -- A. Einstein
 

Offline Vadermort

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Re: Health effects of open chalk quarrying
« Reply #4 on: 19/05/2006 15:26:58 »
Thanks for your help JimBob
Appreciate your questions.
Chalk is a soft sedimentary rock and is a porous form of limestone. It is primely composed of clacite. It is formed over time by the accumulation and piling up of dead micro-organisms (i think the shells of crustaceans are composed of CaCO3..?)over millions of years. It is quite resistant to erosion and therefore forms many geological features on coasts. It is quarried for the purpose of making cement and lime (here in rural China)on a large scale.
There are TONS of abandoned quarries and scars. big, small, old new. Would taking samples from there help?
I planned to take samples form the quarry itself, the and the wastes.
Yeah testing for heavy metals is a good idea.

I also plan to collect the sediment that forms at the bottom of the school's outdoor pool from particulates in the air. After vaccuming it, i can record its dry mass over the space of maybe 2 weeks? See any problems with that? maybe (extreme idea) catching samples of fish in the school's big lake and gutting them for the presence of sand particles in them? problems with that?

b.s
 

Offline JimBob

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Re: Health effects of open chalk quarrying
« Reply #5 on: 19/05/2006 23:11:07 »
I must say I mis-"typed" Originall I said "Then test solution for heavy meatals." should have been "Then test both residude and solution for heavy meatals." Where would you expect them to be, if they are present? How would you test the solids for the presence of heavy metals? Why metals only? Why not other things as well? If you were going to test for other things what would they be? (There are clues to this where you got the definition for carbonate rocks. Hint - it is enviornmental.)

Also, look up the types of crustaceans. Do some produce keratin? What else do they produce?

In oceanography there is the idea of a biological pump. I suggest that this could be an important link in your research. Does this have any connection to your chalk study? If so, how?

Utilizing several different quarries could be a very good idea if you can resolve the difference between the locations. Ask one of the mining engineers if they have geologic maps of the chalk formations in the area. If there are more than one formation take several samples. Also check different directions from the quarry. The prevailing winds may differntiate the chalk dust into different types. I DO NOT KNOW THIS TO BE THE CASE.

Let me know what you think, what the connections may or may not be. I will be glad to look at your final plan if you wish.



The mind is like a parachute. It works best when open.  -- A. Einstein
 

Offline Vadermort

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Re: Health effects of open chalk quarrying
« Reply #6 on: 20/05/2006 04:30:14 »
(mimicking) Thank you for your contribution!

The biological pump info might come in usefull, after all, CaCO3 is the deposits of ancients seas. Transport of carbon from the higher photic zones and the carbonates accumulating in crustaceans. i could write about that. But the research essay is a mere 4000 words. Ill have to pick out whats important and most relevant. Talking to locals is a BIG problem. My chinese practically sucks. I'll try preparing questions from an online translators and chinese teachers at school. And the fact that I am in China, getting maps of any sort is unbeleivabaly hard. In fact the only topo map at school is of a small rural area in Hong Kong :(

On some sites online crustacean shells seem to be made of chitin, protiens and some calcite or argonite. Most foraminiferahave shells of primarily CaCO3. It is quite relevant because the chalk in the area are formed because of these. I can write about in in my introduction. I will post some pictures of my samples and of the area around and in the quarry next week.

b.s
 

Offline JimBob

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Re: Health effects of open chalk quarrying
« Reply #7 on: 21/05/2006 03:24:42 »
Your getting there. The biological pump is central to chalk formation. That is the rerason I mentioned it. Copepods (look up on Wikipedia) are one of two or three major constituents of chalk, their bodies and fecal material. You have mentioned the others, calcareous algae and calcareous foraminifera. It is helpful when looking up references to follow the links (in university, the research papers) that are refered to in or at the end of references.  This needs to become a habit. Many times, the best information is in the second or third series of links one follows.

The idea of seeing what you can collect from your school's outdoor pool is good. You need to establish which way the dust from the quarry falls - along the prvaling winds - and the areas most effected. So if your school is in one of these shadows you will have very good data. My suggestion previously about wind directions was for getting this data. You can determine which areas, if any, are most at risk. (Remember the negative effects of the quarry have yet to be proven.)

You need to justify all you do. An investigation into any science has a reason. What enviornmental problems can be defined for evaluation? What questions can be resolved?

I know I am not being complete in my suggestions. I do not want to do your project planning. I want you to think about the items to be done and decide for yourself. The education about copepods is second level for many people.

Keep asking question. The're are no dumb ones.



The mind is like a parachute. It works best when open.  -- A. Einstein
 

Offline Vadermort

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Re: Health effects of open chalk quarrying
« Reply #8 on: 21/05/2006 05:07:03 »
I never knew about copepods. thats vital info that is. Thanks once again. I appreciate your incompleteness. It helps me learn how to think deeper than my shallow brain is doing now. I could use my microscope and search for the presence of copepods. they seem pretty common even in fresh water. That along with the other microscopic life. The idea about wind can be developed from the earlier idea i had. I was planning on taking my bike offroad and look for dust on leaves and plants progressively away from the quarry to determine a rough radius that is affected by the quarry. (the dust particles travel through  air) About wind patterns, I could build a rough anemometer and measure wind direction and speed during the course of a week and use that as dependant variables? I could set this up on the plateau of a massive hill at school (in case you are wondering how a school can have a big lake and outdoor pool, the school campus is over 80 hectares so is great for fieldwork in my own backyard. (i dorm there too)

The hypothesis that the quarry has negative health effects can maybe be done with a simple experiment maybe with fish or mice by exposing one group to fresh air and the other to air saturated with dust particles from the fine dust that i shall collect in my samples. I shall maybe measure the lifespan of each together with overall preformance. The controlled variables will be type and mass of food given, amount of water a day, and space in which they are kept. Will that help? That together with the effects on aquatic life would be good data. Even better if i find traces of heavy metals in the soil.(still no idea how to do this though)

b.s
 

Offline JimBob

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Re: Health effects of open chalk quarrying
« Reply #9 on: 21/05/2006 18:54:01 »
Darth Death!

You are just about there. I doubt your brain is shallow, just untrained in science. Never get too well trained, though, always try to think outside the box. This is the difference between a good scientist and a great scientist - or in any other profession for that matter.

I have a feeling you are about finished with formulating your project. The next task is to write a proposal. In this short paragraph or two you will set the goal(s) of the research, consider time, materials, and money avalable and also your capabilities - both your personal limitations and limitation of your lab and live specimen facilities. Also what is essential and what is not. Do you test both mice and fish? Are fish and mice easily effected over the time you have for the work or would some other species be preserable, if avalable? Look at EVERYTHING critically. Is that something that will work? For examples, heavy metals may only be present due to ground water contamionation. Are they necessay for the quarry you will look at. Always ask why.

You're doing very well in formulating ideas. You are obviously giving this a good deal of thought. I am glad I am able to help.  



The mind is like a parachute. It works best when open.  -- A. Einstein
« Last Edit: 21/05/2006 19:03:01 by JimBob »
 

Offline Vadermort

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Re: Health effects of open chalk quarrying
« Reply #10 on: 21/05/2006 23:46:21 »
Thank You JimBob
You are right. Im due to write a 500 word abstract for my supervisor this week. Tomorow ill be at the quarry and if i have enough time i shall make a few sketches along with rock samples.
Ok. maybe the mice and fish thing might not work. I've got about half a year to write this essay. Maybe ill use something else or forget it entirely

b.s
 

Offline JimBob

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Re: Health effects of open chalk quarrying
« Reply #11 on: 22/05/2006 00:10:02 »
I did not mean to disuade you from using mice or fish. It is just that there are faster and more sensitivce enviornmental indicators in the biology sciences.



The mind is like a parachute. It works best when open.  -- A. Einstein
 

Offline Vadermort

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Re: Health effects of open chalk quarrying
« Reply #12 on: 22/05/2006 07:20:04 »
I dont understand what you mean. Others that are more sensitive?

b.s
 

Offline JimBob

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Re: Health effects of open chalk quarrying
« Reply #13 on: 22/05/2006 17:59:02 »
Yes - I am suggesting other organisms, faster reproducing, shorter life-span organism that are more sensative to the change in their enviornment - if they are avalable for lab study. Also as your instructor what he or she would suggest. A person with local knowledge would be best able to advise you.



The mind is like a parachute. It works best when open.  -- A. Einstein
 

Offline Vadermort

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Re: Health effects of open chalk quarrying
« Reply #14 on: 23/05/2006 06:15:43 »
My instructor is Canadian.
But I'll ask the garden workers and other people.
Damn. It rained today so there is no way i can go up to the quarry!:(
Dont know when ill be going there again. Its been raining for a while now.

b.s
 

Offline Vadermort

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Re: Health effects of open chalk quarrying
« Reply #15 on: 23/05/2006 11:38:39 »
MAJOR ERROR!
Its not chalk quarrying!!!!
I saw it from a distance and it was another quarry! it looked like they were mining granite or something that looked like it. What to do now?? Some same principles can be applied though.

b.s
 

Offline JimBob

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Re: Health effects of open chalk quarrying
« Reply #16 on: 23/05/2006 18:42:15 »
Find out what type of quarry you are dealing with. Revise plan. Where are you?



The mind is like a parachute. It works best when open.  -- A. Einstein
 

Offline Vadermort

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Re: Health effects of open chalk quarrying
« Reply #17 on: 24/05/2006 01:19:00 »
What do you mean where am I? In a school in the middle of rural China? With my planning, I might have to cancel out the copepods but I will still keep the microorganisms thing and maybe still test for heavy metals. I will post a picture of the quarry and the rock that thew mine there. In fact, I have decided to write on the combined effects of 3 quarry sites surrounding the campus. Two mine "granite" the other one, im not sure. I think they are just blowing away a mountain to make way for something. Water analysis is being kept. I could collect water samples from different streams or lakes near to each of these and compare which one is most dangerous. Microorganism amounts from each of these streams and lakes will be compared. Also I could look for certain organisms that indicate the presence of ____. This could make it a more biological approach and not a chemistry approach.

b.s
 

Offline JimBob

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Re: Health effects of open chalk quarrying
« Reply #18 on: 24/05/2006 22:02:41 »
Yes, I ment Location on the earth, China or Malaysia. If you actually were in Malaysia there are a lot of mineral deposits that are mined. China is so vast it depends on where you are located. I was trying to think ahead. Let me know when you find out the specifics.



The mind is like a parachute. It works best when open.  -- A. Einstein
 

Offline Bass

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Re: Health effects of open chalk quarrying
« Reply #19 on: 25/05/2006 00:03:09 »
If there is alot of blasting- also look at nitrate levels (from the explosives).  Elevated nitrates cause algae blooms and encourage aquatic plants- possibly damaging aquatic ecosystems.

Subduction causes orogeny.
 

Offline Vadermort

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Re: Health effects of open chalk quarrying
« Reply #20 on: 25/05/2006 04:43:20 »
Yeah the chemistry book that i use has a topic on nitrates in water. I think it explains the effects. Its the wet season now so thereis not much blasting going on.It doesnt say that epxplosives are a source of nitrates in water. MKes sense though TNT, Nitroglycerin, black powder all contain nitrates.


b.s
 

Offline Vadermort

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Re: Health effects of open chalk quarrying
« Reply #21 on: 16/06/2006 15:21:55 »
I have seen the quarry again and am now writing the method in which to carry out these experiments


b.s
 

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Re: Health effects of open chalk quarrying
« Reply #21 on: 16/06/2006 15:21:55 »

 

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