Madre de Dios (Peru): Hydrology, Sediment Transport, and Gold Mining
Legal and illegal gold mining in the Madre de Dios area cause several environmental concerns linked with mercury pollution and deforestation, which make hydrological and sediment transport processes central for any assessment of ongoing and future environmental impacts. This thesis addresses the problem of estimating flow and transport processes in the virtually ungauged Madre de Dios basin (Peru) to provide a first basis on which transport of mercury adsorbed on the sediment may be evaluated. The thesis first applies a recent method to derive the probability distribution of liquid and solid discharges to gauged basins in the Tropical Zone (Puerto Rico). This application allows the evaluation of the uncertainty associated with estimates of flow and transport pdf's. Once the iuncertainty is quantified, the same tool is applied to provide the first evaluation of the frequency distributions of discharge and sediment fluxes in the Madre de Dios area.
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