Emerald mining in the Panjshir Valley, Afghanistan, has occurred for thousands of years, yet few records exist documenting the detailed spatial extent, techniques, or productivity of small-scale miners. This study proposes new methods to map and monitor the extent and changes in small-scale mining in remote and inaccessible terrain by integrating multispectral remote sensing analysis with archival geologic data and three-dimensional topographic change detection to examine emerald deposit zones and mining activity in the Panjshir Valley. Specifically, previously mapped geologic units known to host emeralds were re-analyzed using Landsat multispectral analysis to investigate the potential distribution of mining activity. Interpretation of very fine-resolution satellite imagery showed that mining activity is becoming more concentrated and transitioning from traditional tunneling methods to mechanized surface excavation. Finally, topographic change analysis of mechanized mine sites was combined with archival grade data to estimate production and consider improved recovery methods by small-scale miners.
|Title||Mapping the extent and methods of small-scale emerald mining in the Panjshir Valley, Afghanistan|
|Authors||Jessica D. DeWitt, Peter G. Chirico, Kelsey L. O'Pry, Sarah E. Bergstresser|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Geocarto International|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Florence Bascom Geoscience Center|