Pablo León Higueras

Pablo León Higueras
University of Castilla-La Mancha · Instituto de Geología Aplicada (IGeA)

Professor - PhD in Geological Science
Head of Instituto de Geología Aplicada, UCLM. Escuela de Ingeniería Minera a Industrial de Almadén Almadén, Ciudad Real

About

280
Publications
52,067
Reads
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3,474
Citations
Introduction
My scientific attention is focused in the environmental impact of mining, in particular regarding heavy metals (or potentially toxic elements) pollution. The main concerns of my interest are two: i) the study of atmospheric mercury contamination; and ii) the influence of soil geochemistry on agronomic plants.
Additional affiliations
April 2015 - June 2015
University of Trieste
Position
  • Professor
Description
  • Hosted by Stefano Covelli.
September 2010 - present
University of Castilla-La Mancha
Position
  • Managing Director
Description
  • Director of 'Instituto de Geología Aplicada'
March 1990 - present
University of Castilla-La Mancha
Position
  • Professor (Full)
Education
February 1991 - September 1995
University of Granada
Field of study
  • Geology
October 1975 - July 1980
University of Granada
Field of study
  • Geology

Publications

Publications (280)
Article
Mercury is transported globally in the atmosphere mostly in gaseous elemental form (GEM, [Formula: see text]), but still few worldwide studies taking into account different and contrasted environmental settings are available in a single publication. This work presents and discusses data from Argentina, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Chile...
Article
The giant Almadén mercury deposit (Spain) is hosted by the Lower Silurian Criadero Quartzite; in turn this ore-bearing rock unit is cross-cut by the so-called Frailesca unit, a diatreme body of basaltic composition. The geochemical characteristics of the Silurian to Devonian Almadén District volcanic units indicate that these rocks originated from...
Article
Full-text available
Almost no environmental data on mercury distribution and speciation in soils have been published so far for the Almadén mining district (central Spain), despite its huge size and historic importance. The mercury distribution in soils of the district reveals the existence of high and extremely high mercury values (up to ∼9000 ppm Hg). The Hg-thermod...
Article
We present data from an early reconnaissance survey (stream sediments, soil, and water Hg chemistry; plants and water crustaceans Hg intake) of the Almadén district (central Spain), that was carried out to establish the potential environmental hazards derived from the anomalous mercury concentrations measured in this realm. The Almadén mercury dist...
Article
Speciation of Hg and conversion to methyl-Hg were evaluated in mine wastes, sediments, and water collected from the Almadén District, Spain, the world's largest Hg producing region. Our data for methyl-Hg, a neurotoxin hazardous to humans, are the first reported for sediment and water from the Almadén area. Concentrations of Hg and methyl-Hg in min...
Article
Full-text available
Un aerogenerador típico de 3 MW necesita más de media tonelada de neodimio y cerca de 100 kg de disprosio. Estos nombres tan particulares pertenecen a dos metales del grupo de las tierras raras, un conjunto de sustancias que se extraen sólo en algunas regiones del mundo debido a su peculiar comportamiento geoquímico, pero son indispensables para fa...
Article
Full-text available
The supply of water to populations is a basic need that has been threatened more frequently in recent years due to climate change, which renders seeking other sources of water essential. The hydrochemistry of the groundwater of the aquifer located in the UTP Tocumen was characterized by previous research to determine its possible use as a source of...
Article
Full-text available
Continental lithosphere is modified over eons in response to large-scale tectonic processes, such as rifting and collisions. The lithospheric mantle beneath central Iberia was affected by multiple Neoproterozoic to Cenozoic events including two orogenic cycles. However, the details of this evolution, and the relationship of the Iberian lithosphere...
Article
Mine tailings are a potential source of environmental pollution because they typically contain potentially toxic elements (PTEs) and the residue of chemical compounds used during extraction processes. The Remance gold mine (NW Panama) is a decommissioned mine with mining activity records dating from the 1800s and several periods of abandonment. Ver...
Article
Full-text available
The proposed Minamata Convention ban on the use of fluorescent lamps at the end of 2020, with a consequent reduction in mercury (Hg) light products, is expected to produce large amounts of discarded fluorescent bulbs. In this context, the most effective recycling options are a thermal mercury recovery system and/or aqueous solution leaching (lixivi...
Article
Full-text available
Mining affects the environment, particularly through the persistence of accumulation of tailings materials; this is aggravated under tropical climatic conditions, which favours the release of potentially toxic elements (PTEs) bioavailable to the local flora and fauna and supposing a risk to human health. The Remance gold mine (Panamá), exploited in...
Article
Full-text available
The derelict Remance gold mine is a possible source of pollution with potentially toxic elements (PTEs). In the study area, diverse mine waste has been left behind and exposed to weather conditions, and poses risks for soil, plants and water bodies, and also for the health of local inhabitants. This study sought to perform an ecological and health...
Chapter
The province of León represents a geographic boundary of great interest for the analysis of cultural and social relations between the Mediterranean and Atlantic populations during the Neolithic-Bronze Age, the most important expression of which is rock art. This study presents an integrated geoarchaeological approach based on the multi-element geoc...
Research
Full-text available
This research is about the use of artificial intelligence in mineral prospectivity. In this work, we've been using data from the Mercury mineralizations of Almadén. We have applied different Machine Learning techniques to draw conclusions from the data.
Article
Full-text available
Abandoned mine lands (AMLs), which are considered some of the most dangerous an-thropogenic activities in the world, are a source of hazards relating to potentially toxic elements (PTEs). Traditional reclamation techniques, which are expensive, time-consuming and not well accepted by the general public, cannot be used on a large scale. However, pla...
Preprint
Full-text available
The aim of the present study is to assess the combined use of geotechnical and electrical geophysical methods to determine water quality and rocks mechanics in an aquifer. The aquifer studied is located in the Tocumen sector of Panamá City, located to the southeast of city, where there is a need to study the possible use of this aquifer to provide...
Article
Full-text available
The geochemical characterization of the mine deposits and soils in metal mining areas is essential in order to develop an effective mine reclamation strategy. The determination of total potentially toxic element (PTE) content, together with the application of chemical extraction procedures, can give insight into the behavior of contaminants after t...
Article
Full-text available
The biomonitoring of atmospheric mercury (Hg) is an important topic in the recent scientific literature given the cost-benefit advantage of obtaining indirect measurements of gaseous Hg using biological tissues. Lichens, mosses, and trees are the most commonly used organisms, with many standardized methods for some of them used across European coun...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This work presents the preliminary results of geochemistry of mafic intrusions (diabase dykes) and their relationship with antimony mineralization in the Central-Iberian Zone (Variscan Belt). Two different areas were studied, the Almadén (Al) and the San Antonio (SA) areas. Both macroscopic and microscopic observations show that mafic dykes are mai...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Origin and significance of the antimony mineralization associated to mafic intrusions in the Iberian Zone and the Central Armorican Domain. In the Central Iberian Zone (CIZ) and its French counterpart, the Central Armorican Domain (CAD), widespread swarms of mafic dykes with various ages and compositions are known. Indeed, numerous mafic events are...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The geochemical similarities between Hg and Sb (along with W and As), have produced ore deposits in which both elements are present. In the present work we investigate the relationships between the Sb deposits of the Guadalmez synclinal and the Hg deposits of the Almadén synclinal, separated only 8 kilometres. To accomplish this porpoise a regular...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Traditionally, prospectivity models were designed using approaches mainly based on expert judgement. These models have been widely applied and they are also known as knowledge-driven prospectivity models (see Harris et al. (2015)). Currently, artificial intelligence approaches, especially machine learning models, are being applied to build prospect...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Antimony (Sb) is a valuable element, exploited for diverse applications including flame retardants, munitions, batteries, glasses, and industry for diodes. However Sb is also a toxic metalloid, often associated with other harmful elements (arsenic, lead, mercury…) in mining sites. The biogeochemical behavior of Sb remains poorly documented, and dat...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Castilla-La Mancha (CLM), located in South-Central Spain, is a region of some 80,000 Km 2 centered in agricultural and livestock activity, being the first major producer of wine and second of olive oil in Spain (after Andalucía), and an important producer of sheep cheese and lamb meal. Besides, the region has supported an important metallic mining...
Presentation
Full-text available
La elaboración de mapas prospectivos, también conocidos como cartografía de la prospección mineral (en inglés Mineral Prospectivity Mapping, MPM), para ofrecer una herramienta de apoyo al trabajo de geólogos, ingenieros de minas y otros especialistas de áreas afines, se ha realizado tradicionalmente confiando en un equipo de expertos. Así, los mapa...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
INTRODUCCIÓN La minería es una actividad muy importante y necesaria para la sociedad, que debe ser desarrollada de manera responsable, ya que de no tener los cuidados necesarios sus residuos pueden ser focos latentes de contaminación al medio ambiente (García-Lorenzo et al. 2019). En Panamá la legislación ambiental es relativamente reciente (Gaceta...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The inadequate treatment of waste materials in mine tailings, the closure stage not carried out correctly, carries risks due to the residues of potentially toxic elements (PTEs) that it may contain. In Panama, environmental regulations are recent, and even so the regulations are not strictly enforced, leaving a problem for the adjacent communities....
Article
Full-text available
El objetivo principal del proyecto será la caracterización geoquímica de los suelos de Castilla-La Mancha. La consecución de este objetivo principal permitirá determinar la variabilidad de los elementos mayores y traza y de sus contenidos, según la litología de la Región, permitiendo definir niveles genéricos de referencia, así como identificar zon...
Article
Full-text available
In Panama City, the water supply sources for the population come mainly from surface waters, but in times of drought and extreme natural phenomena, the need to resort to underground sources is explored. This paper concerns an exploratory investigation with the aim of assessing the quality of groundwater in the southeastern part of the Province of P...
Article
Full-text available
Una de las mayores controversias que suscita el estudio geoarqueológico de la minería aurífera romana se refiere al empleo de la amalgama con mercurio (Hg) para la concentración de oro en yacimientos tipo placer, donde éste aparece libre, en forma de pequeñas partículas o pepitas que se acumulan en el sedimento aurífero. A pesar de que el uso y pro...
Article
Full-text available
La elaboración de mapas prospectivos, también conocidos como cartografía de la prospección mineral (en inglés Mineral Prospectivity Mapping, MPM), para ofrecer una herramienta de apoyo al trabajo de geólogos, ingenieros de minas y otros especialistas de áreas afines, se ha realizado tradicionalmente confiando en un equipo de expertos. Así, los mapa...
Article
Full-text available
Monazite ((Ce, La, Nd, Th) PO4) is a rare and strategic mineral that occurs naturally as an accessory and minor mineral in diverse igneous and metamorphic rocks. This mineral does not frequently form mineable ore deposits and it has different typologies, including those formed by endogenous processes (generally "yellow monazite" mineralizations) an...
Article
Biscutella auriculata L. is a plant that belongs to the Brassicaceae family and it has been found growing in a metal-contaminated area of the San Quíntín mine (Ciudad Real, Spain). The purpose of this work was to evaluate the mechanisms that allow this plant to tolerate high concentrations of copper. Seedlings were grown in a semihydroponic system...
Article
Full-text available
The Marano and Grado Lagoon (Northern Adriatic Sea) has been affected by mercury (Hg) contamination coming from two sources, mining activity and discharges from a chlor-alkali plant (CAP). Sediments and water contamination have been previously well characterised, but little is known about the atmospheric compartment, where Hg is easily emitted and...
Article
Full-text available
Mercury (Hg) is a global pollutant that can be transported long distances after its emission from primary sources. The most common problem of gaseous Hg in the vicinity of anthropogenic sources is its presence in inorganic forms and in the gaseous state in the atmosphere. Risk assessments related to the presence of gaseous Hg in the atmosphere at c...
Article
Full-text available
Soil pollution associated with potentially toxic elements (PTEs) from mining residues is a significant problem worldwide. The decommissioned Jebal Trozza mine, located in central Tunisia, may pose a serious problem because of the possible high concentrations of PTEs present in its wastes. This mine is a potential source of contamination for agricul...
Article
Mining activities frequently leave a legacy of residues that remain in the area for long periods causing the pollution of surroundings. We studied on a 100 year-old mine, the behavior of potentially toxic elements (PTEs) and their ecotoxicological impact on activity and diversity of microorganisms. The PTEs contamination assessment allowed the clas...
Article
Full-text available
Mercury (Hg) exchange at the plant leaf–atmosphere interface is an important issue when considering vegetation as a sink or source of this global pollutant. The aim of the study described here was to clarify this process by studying Hg exchange under laboratory conditions with a plant model, namely Epipremnum aureum. The desorption and absorption p...
Article
Biscutella auriculata L. is one of the rare species that is able to grow in a very contaminated mining area in Villamayor de Calatrava (Ciudad Real, Spain). In an effort to understand the mechanisms involved in the tolerance of this plant to high metal concentrations, we grew B. auriculata in the presence of 125 μM Cd(NO3)2 for 15 days and analysed...
Article
Full-text available
Mercury (Hg) is a global pollutant, being highly persistent in the atmosphere, in particular gaseous elemental mercury (GEM), which can easily be emitted and then transported over long distances. In the Gulf of Trieste (northern Adriatic Sea, Italy), contamination by Hg is well characterised but little is known regarding the concentrations, sources...
Article
Full-text available
The mineralogical and geochemical patterns of calcareous vineyard soils located in Alcubillas (La Mancha, Central Spain) have been evaluated; also their variability has been studied. The information provided by this study supports the assessment of geochemical spatial variability, the origin of these soils, their elements and the factors that contr...
Article
Full-text available
Elements in mining extracts can be potentially toxic if they are incorporated into soils, sediments or biota. Numerous approaches have been used to assess this problem, and these include sequential extractions and selective extractions. These two methods have limitations and advantages, and their combined use usually provides a rough estimate of th...
Article
Elements in mining extracts can be potentially toxic if they are incorporated into soils, sediments or biota. Numerous approaches have been used to assess this problem, and these include sequential extractions and selective extractions. These two methods have limitations and advantages, and their combined use usually provides a rough estimate of th...
Article
Abstrat The uptake and distribution of Pb and the mechanisms involved in the metal tolerance have been investigated in a mine population of Biscutella auriculata. Seedlings were exposed to 125 μM Pb(NO3)2 for 15 days under semihydroponic conditions. The results showed an increase in the size of Pb-treated seedlings and symptoms of toxicity were not...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Cinnabar mining, to obtain mercury, is still an important activity for the residents of the Sierra Gorda in Mexico, so this activity is currently source of mercury emission and possibly of other potentially toxic elements (PTE). In this work, seven study sites, located in areas with presence of exploitations of active or decommissioned mercury mine...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Mining has an adverse effect on soil quality as it is a source of heavy metal environmental pollution with direct consequences on its ecosystem services, especially those related to microbial activity. The magnitude and diversity of the impact produced by pollution is linked to the complexity and diversity of mining processes that share the same mi...
Article
The largest mercury (Hg) mining district in the world is located in Almadén (Spain), with well-known environmental impacts in the surrounding ecosystem. However, the impact of mercury on the health of the inhabitants of this area has not been documented accordingly. This study aims to carry out a probabilistic human health risk assessment using Bay...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Antimony (Sb) is a critical metal for Europe. Indeed, Sb is widely used in a variety of industrial operations, especially in the European aircraft industry, such as production of flame retardants, plastics, paint pigments, glassware and ceramics, alloys in ammunition and battery manufacturing plants. Despite its strategic importance, the knowledge...
Article
Full-text available
Soil pollution associated with heavy metals from mining residues is a significant problem worldwide. The decommissioned Jebal Trozza mine, located in central Tunisia, may pose a serious problem because of the possible high concentrations of potentially toxic elements (PTE) present in its wastes. This mine is a potential source of contamination for...
Preprint
Full-text available
Abstract. Mercury is a global pollutant that can be transported long distances after its emission by primary sources. Most of the problems associated with Hg as a toxic element dispersed worldwide arise due to its incorporation into the trophic chain and its conversion into organic forms. However, in the vicinity of anthropogenic sources, the most...
Poster
Full-text available
OurresultscanprovideusefulinformationonthephytoremediationstrategiesofCdcontaminatedareas,exploitingthestrategiesthatallowBiscutellaauriculataL.toaccumulateandtolerateCdcontamination.Basedonoverallresults,itissuggestedthatBiscutellaauriculataL.couldbesuccessfullyusedforphytoremediationorrepopulationoflowCdcontaminatedsoils.
Article
Full-text available
This work presents an integral methodological approach to assess the environmental potential hazards posed by metals and metalloids hosted by spolic technosols derived from old tailings from a mining operation for galena (PbS, with high Ag contents)-sphalerite (ZnS, with a varied cohort of trace elements contents) in central Spain. We studied the t...