Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/soil-2021-138
https://doi.org/10.5194/soil-2021-138
 
15 Feb 2022
15 Feb 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal SOIL.

Miniaturised visible and near-infrared spectrometers for assessing soil health indicators in mine site rehabilitation

Zefang Shen1, Raphael A. Viscarra Rossel1, Haylee D'Agui2, Lewis Walden1, Mingxi Zhang1, Tsoek Man Yiu1, Kingsley Dixon2, Paul Nevill2,3, Adam Cross2,4, Mohana Matangulu1, and Yang Hu1 Zefang Shen et al.
  • 1Soil and Landscape Science, School of Molecular and Life Sciences, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Curtin University, G.P.O. Box U1987, Perth, WA 6845, Australia
  • 2ARC Centre for Mine Site Restoration, School of Molecular and Life Sciences, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Curtin University, G.P.O. Box U1987, Perth, WA 6845, Australia
  • 3Trace and Environmental DNA Laboratory, School of Molecular and Life Sciences, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Curtin University, G.P.O Box U1987, Perth, WA, 6845, Australia
  • 4EcoHealth Network, 1330 Beacon St, Suite 355a, Brookline, MA 02446, United States

Abstract. Mining can cause severe disturbances to the soil, which underpins the viability of terrestrial ecosystems. Post-mining rehabilitation relies on measuring soil properties that are critical soil health indicators. Soil visible–near-infrared (vis–NIR) spectroscopy is rapid, relatively accurate and cost-effective for estimating a range of soil properties. Recent advances in infrared detectors and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) have produced miniaturised, relatively inexpensive spectrometers. Here, we evaluate the spectra from four miniaturised visible and NIR spectrometers, some combinations and a full-range vis–NIR spectrometer to model 29 soil physical, chemical and biological properties used to assess soil health at mine sites. We collected soils from reference undisturbed native vegetation and topsoil stockpiles from seven mines in Western Australia. We evaluated the repeatability of the spectrometers and the accuracy of the spectroscopic models built with seven statistical and machine learning algorithms. The spectra from the visible spectrometer could estimate soil texture (sand, silt, and clay) more accurately than the NIR spectrometers. However, the spectra from the NIR spectrometers produced better estimates of soil chemical and biological properties. By combining the miniaturised visible and NIR spectrometers, we improved the accuracy of their soil property estimates, which were similar to those from the full-range spectrometer. The miniaturised spectrometers and combinations predicted 24 of the 29 soil properties with moderate or greater accuracy (Lin’s concordance correlation, pc ≥ 0.65). The repeatability of the NIR spectrometers was similar to that of the full-range, portable spectrometer. Our results show that the miniaturised NIR spectrometers can produce accurate predictions of soil properties comparable to the (orders of magnitude) more expensive full-range portable system, particularly when combined with a visible range spectrometer. Thus, there is potential to develop rapid, accurate, cost-effective diagnostic capacity to support mine site rehabilitation based on miniaturised spectrometers and deliver significant positive economic and environmental outcomes.

Zefang Shen et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on soil-2021-138', Anonymous Referee #1, 27 Mar 2022
    • CC1: 'Reply on RC1', Raphael Viscarra Rossel, 22 Apr 2022
      • RC3: 'Reply on CC1', Anonymous Referee #1, 25 Apr 2022
        • CC3: 'Reply on RC3', Raphael Viscarra Rossel, 26 Apr 2022
        • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Zefang Shen, 30 Apr 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Zefang Shen, 30 Apr 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on soil-2021-138', Anonymous Referee #2, 19 Apr 2022
    • CC2: 'Reply on RC2', Raphael Viscarra Rossel, 22 Apr 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Zefang Shen, 30 Apr 2022

Zefang Shen et al.

Zefang Shen et al.

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Short summary
Post-mining rehabilitation relies on measuring soil properties that are critical soil health indicators. We evaluated miniaturised visible and near-infrared spectrometers to model soil physical, chemical and biological properties related to soil health. We show there is potential to develop rapid, accurate, cost-effective diagnostic capacity to support mine site rehabilitation based on miniaturised spectrometers and deliver significant positive economic and environmental outcomes.