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  • Review 2024-06-30

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    Situation of Geological Occurrences and Utilization, and Research Trends of North Korean Coal Resources

    Sang-Mo Koh, Bum Han Lee, Otgon-Erdene Davaasuren

    Econ. Environ. Geol. 2024; 57(3): 281-292

    Abstract : North Korea relies heavily on coal as the primary energy source, playing an important role in all energy demand sectors except for the transportation sector. Approximately half of the total electricity is generated through coal-fired power plants, and coal is used to produce heat and power for all industrial facilities. Furthermore, coal has been a significant contributor to earning foreign currency through long-term exports to China. Nevertheless, since the 1980s, indiscriminate mining activities have led to rapid depletion of coal production in most coal mines. Aging mine facilities, lack of investment in new equipment, shortages of fuel and electricity, difficulties in material supply, and frequent damage from flooding have collectively contributed to a noticeable decline in coal production since the late 1980s. North Korea's coal deposits are distributed in various geological formations from the Proterozoic to the Cenozoic, but the most critical coal-bearing formations are Ripsok and Sadong formations distributed in the Pyeongnam Basin of the Late Paleozoic from Carboniferous to Permian, which are called as Pyeongnam North and South Coal Fields. Over 90% of North Korea's coal is produced in these coal fields. The classification of coal in North Korea differs from the international classification based on coalification (peat, lignite, sub-bituminous coal, bituminous coal, and anthracite). North Korean classification based on industrial aspect is classified into bituminous coal, anthracite, and low-grade coal (Chomuyeontan). Based on the energy factor, it is classified into high-calorie coal, medium calorie coal, and low-calorie coal. In North Korea, the term "Chomuyeontan" refers to a type of coal that is not classified globally and is unique to North Korea. It is a low-grade coal exclusively used in North Korea and is not found or used in any other country worldwide. This article compares North Korea's coal classification and the international coal classification of coal and provides insights into the geological characteristics, reserves, utilization, and research trends of North Korean coal resources. This study could serve as a guide for preparing scientific and industrial agendas related to coal collaboration between North Korea and South Korea.

  • Review 2024-06-30

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    Ecological and Geomorphic Fallout of Escalating River Mining Activities: A Review

    Sk. Rakibul Islam, Rafi Uddin, Miftahul Zannat, Jahangir Alam

    Econ. Environ. Geol. 2024; 57(3): 293-303

    Abstract : River mining, the extraction of sand and gravel from riverbeds, is rising at an alarming rate to keep pace with the increasing demand for construction materials worldwide. The far-reaching deleterious effects of river mining include the lowering of water levels, the augmentation of turbidity, and the erosion of riverbanks, i.e., the disruption of water flow and alteration of river morphology. Aggregates demand, geolocation, and the economy of Bangladesh accelerated illegal extraction. However, limited research has been carried out in this region, despite the severe impact on aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. To address the corresponding consequences and direct the scope for further research, it is required to evaluate existing studies of other countries having similarities in river morphology, climate, economy, and other related parameters. In this respect, based on previous studies, the effects of sand extraction are particularly prominent in India, having 54 cross-boundary rivers with Bangladesh. The geological profile of numerous rivers in the past decades has been altered due to natural aggregate mining in the Indian subcontinent. Hence, this study focused on relevant research in this region. However, the existing research only focuses on the regional portion of the aforementioned international rivers, which lacks proper assessments of these rivers, taking into account especially the mining effects. Moreover, several global rivers that have similarities with Bangladeshi rivers, considering different parameters, are also included in this study. The findings of this article underline the pressing need for more efficacious measures to address the adverse effects of river mining and safeguard ecosystems and communities globally, especially in the Indian subcontinent, where the situation is particularly vulnerable. For this reason, targeting the aforementioned region, this review highlights the global evidence in assessing the future effects of river mining and the need for further research in this field.

  • Research Paper 2024-06-30

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    The Effect of Changes in Soil Microbial Communities on Geochemical Behavior of Arsenic

    Eui-Jeong Hwang, Yejin Choi, Hyeop-Jo Han, Daeung Yoon, Jong-Un Lee

    Econ. Environ. Geol. 2024; 57(3): 305-317

    Abstract : To investigate the effect of changes in microbial communities on arsenic release in soil, experiments were conducted on arsenic-contaminated soils (F1, G7, and G10). The experiments involved three groups of the experimental sets; ① BAC: sterilized soil + Bacillus fungorum, ② IND: indigenous bacteria, and ③ MIX: indigenous bacteria + B. fungorum, and incubated them for seven weeks using lactate as a carbon source under anaerobic conditions. The experimental results showed that higher concentrations of arsenic were released from the IND and MIX soils, where indigenous bacterial communities existed, compared to BAC. Significantly higher levels of arsenic were released from the G10 soil, which showed higher pH, compared to the F1 and G7 soils. In the G10 soil, unlike other soils, the proportion of As(III) among the released arsenic was also low. These results may be attributed to differences in microbial community composition that vary depending on the soil. By the seventh week, the diversity of microbial species in the IND and MIX soils had significantly decreased, with dominant orders such as Eubacteriales and Bacillales thriving. Bacteroidales in the seventh week of the MIX in the F1 soil, Rummeliibacillus in the seventh week of the IND and MIX of the G7 soil, and Enterobacterales in the IND and MIX of the G10 soil were dominant. At present, it is not known which mechanisms of microbial community changes affect the geochemical behavior of arsenic; however, these results indicate that microbiome in the soil may function as one of the factors regulating arsenic release.

  • Research Paper 2024-06-30

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    Evaluation of Heavy Metal Removal Efficiency in Artificial Acidic Drainage Using Calcite and Aragonite

    Byeong Cheol Song, Young Hun Kim, Jeong Jin Kim

    Econ. Environ. Geol. 2024; 57(3): 319-327

    Abstract : Calcite and aragonite are polymorphs with the chemical formula CaCO3. In this study, natural limestone and aragonite, as well as scallop and clam shells composed of calcite and aragonite, were used as the pH-raising neutralizing agents for model solutions containing various heavy metals such as Cd, Cu, Fe, Mn, and Zn to simulate acidic drainage. According to the experimental results, pH-raising effect is higher in the shell materials compared to natural ores for both the calcite and aragonite types. Natural calcite and scallop shells are found to be the most suitable media for Cd removal, while over 95% efficiency for Cu and Fe removal was observed in all four media. Zn removal efficiency is higher in aragonite and clam shells, while Mn removal efficiency is relatively low, to be below 50%, for all four media. Overall, the heavy metal removal efficiency, except for Mn, was over 90%, in the order of Fe > Cu > Cd > Zn > Mn.

  • Research Paper 2024-06-30

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    A Grey Wolf Optimized- Stacked Ensemble Approach for Nitrate Contamination Prediction in Cauvery Delta

    Kalaivanan K, Vellingiri J

    Econ. Environ. Geol. 2024; 57(3): 329-342

    Abstract : The exponential increase in nitrate pollution of river water poses an immediate threat to public health and the environment. This contamination is primarily due to various human activities, which include the overuse of nitrogenous fertilizers in agriculture and the discharge of nitrate-rich industrial effluents into rivers. As a result, the accurate prediction and identification of contaminated areas has become a crucial and challenging task for researchers. To solve these problems, this work leads to the prediction of nitrate contamination using machine learning approaches. This paper presents a novel approach known as Grey Wolf Optimizer (GWO) based on the Stacked Ensemble approach for predicting nitrate pollution in the Cauvery Delta region of Tamilnadu, India. The proposed method is evaluated using a Cauvery River dataset from the Tamilnadu Pollution Control Board. The proposed method shows excellent performance, achieving an accuracy of 93.31%, a precision of 93%, a sensitivity of 97.53%, a specificity of 94.28%, an F1-score of 95.23%, and an ROC score of 95%. These impressive results underline the demonstration of the proposed method in accurately predicting nitrate pollution in river water and ultimately help to make informed decisions to tackle these critical environmental problems.

  • Research Paper 2024-06-30

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    Abstract : Composition analysis and lead isotope ratio analysis were conducted to determine the coloring machanism on lead glaze used in Gyeongbokgung Palace and the provenance of the lead used as a flux. 31 blue tiles were classified into green, blue, and yellow. The chemical analysis of lead glazes on the blue tiles revealed that Pb, Si, and Cu were the main components, and trace amounts of Fe, Ca, Mg, and Al were detected. The Cu content was high in blue lead glaze, while Cu was not detected in yellow or brown lead glaze which instead had high Fe content. Therefore, it was found that lead was used as a flux and copper oxide as a coloring agent in the production of lead glaze. In addition, the lead isotope ratios of the lead glaze used in the blue tiles of Gyeongbokgung palace were plotted in zone 3 on the distribution map of lead isotope ratios on the Korean Peninsula, which includes Chungcheong-do and Jeolla-do. It is presumed that the flux for the lead glaze was sourced from galena found in these regions.
    The lead isotope ratios of the green glaze from the Three Kingdoms and Unified Silla period were mostly located outside the Korean Peninsula, showing that the provenance of lead had changed. In particular, the lead isotope ratios of the green glaze from the Three Kingdoms and Unified Silla period suggest exchange with neighboring countries. Also the lead isotope ratios of the green glazes from the same temple are different, so it is believed that they were made at different times or in different workshops.

Jun 30, 2024 Vol.57 No.3, pp. 281~352

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