Soil profile development in vegetated uranium tailings

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 77, No. 863, 1984

D.R. MURRAY, Agronomist, Elliot Lake Laboratory, CANMET, EMR Canada, Elliot Lake, Ontario

A promising long-term solution to uranium tailings reclamation has been the establishment of vegetation directly on the waste material. The soil profiles of areas vegetated for 0, 3, 8 and 10 years are characterized as to the extent of soil development. The characteristics are compared with the visually interpreted soil profile. Organic matter content is presently the best analytical judge of soil development. Vegetation procedures have produced a build-up of organic matter in the top 10cm of tailings where natural microbial populations flourish. The C:N ratio is high and the prof He depth shallow, suggesting the need for additional fertilizer applications.