Crustal Geophysics and Geochemistry Science Center

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Project status is complete. Please check the CGGSC project list for currently active projects.

Toxics Program - Metal Release, Transport, and Attenuation in Mined Areas: Mechanisms and Implications for Remediation and Land-Use Strategies

This project involves field monitoring and laboratory research to identify processes controlling release, speciation, transport, attenuation, and toxicity of metals in mined areas. We are currently studying some of these processes at a fluvial tailings deposit in the upper Arkansas River basin downstream from Leadville, Colorado. These tailings deposits represent a potential non-point source of metals to the river. This is a joint project with the USGS Water Resources Discipline (WRD) and the Colorado School of Mines, and has included participation by the State of Colorado, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and several local entities. Previous work on metal transport and attenuation was conducted at St. Kevin Gulch near Leadville, CO. In a different component of this project, we are examining an assortment of toxicity tests for screening leachates from a variety of mine-waste materials. These tests are being performed at the Colorado School of Mines and address toxicity to aquatic organisms and vegetation. The tests are designed to simulate reactions occurring upon runoff from mined areas into receiving streams. Another aspect of this project is the examination of aqueous arsenic speciation. We are conducting a round-robin study to test different analytical methods for inorganic arsenic speciation. This is a joint study with the Colorado School of Mines, and collaborating labs include the WRD National Water Quality Laboratory, a WRD research laboratory, a USGS Geologic Discipline (GD) research laboratory, and a laboratory at the University of Waterloo in Canada.

Project Chief:

Kathleen Smith Box 25046 MS 964
Denver, CO 80225
(303) 236-5788
ksmith@usgs.gov

Products

  • Morris, K., Ranville, J., Macalady, D., and Smith, K., 1999, Characterization of suspended sediments and colloids in Clear Creek, Colorado, Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Tailings and Mine Waste '99, Fort Collins, Colorado: Rotterdam, A.A. Balkema, pp. 611-616.
  • Smith, K.S., 1996, Processes controlling dissolved copper concentrations during an instream pH-modification experiment, in Morganwalp, D.W., and Aronson, D.A., eds., U.S. Geological Survey Toxic Substances Hydrology Program; proceedings of the technical meeting, Colorado Springs, CO: Water-Resources Investigations Report 94-4015, pp.769-774.
  • Smith, K.S., 1996, Use of computer models to predict metal mobility in mine-drainage systems: the importance of matching geochemical conditions [abs.]: Geological Society of America 1996 Annual Meeting, Quantifying the Environmental Impacts of Mining Theme Session, Denver, Colorado, October 28-31, 1996, Abstracts with Programs, vol. 28, no. 7, pp. A-528.
  • Smith, K.S., 1999, Metal sorption on mineral surfaces: an overview with examples relating to mineral deposits, in Plumlee, G.S., and Logsdon, M.J., eds., The Environmental Geochemistry of Mineral Deposits, Part A: Society of Economic Geologists, Reviews in Economic Geology, vol. 6A, pp. 161-182.
  • Smith, K.S., 1999, Barium, in Marshall, C.P., and Fairbridge, R.W., eds., Encyclopedia of geochemistry: Dordrecht, Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 28-29.
  • Smith, K.S., 1999, Cadmium, in Marshall, C.P., and Fairbridge, R.W., eds., Encyclopedia of geochemistry: Dordrecht, Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 50-51.
  • Smith, K.S., 1999, Geoavailability, in Marshall, C.P., and Fairbridge, R.W., eds., Encyclopedia of geochemistry: Dordrecht, Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 262-263.
  • Smith, K.S., Balistrieri, L.S., Smith, S.M., and Severson, R.C., 1997, Distribution and mobility of molybdenum in the terrestrial environment, Chapter 3, in Gupta, U.C., ed., Molybdenum in Agriculture: New York, Cambridge University Press, pp. 23-46.
  • Smith, K.S., Jerz, J.K., Ranville, J.F., Walton-Day, K., Sutley, S.J., Meier, A.L., and Briggs, P.H., 1997, Geochemical characterization of a fluvial tailings deposit along the Arkansas River, Colorado, USA [abs.], in Wanty, R.B., Marsh, S.P., and Gough, L.P., eds., 4th International Symposium on Environmental Geochemistry proceedings, Vail, Colorado, October 5-10, 1997: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 97-0496, p. 86.
  • Smith, K.S., Meeker, G.P., Leinz, R.W., Sutley, S.J., Huyck, H.L.O., and Desborough, G.A., 1999, Geoavailability of metals in a mine-waste material [abs.], Ninth Annual V.M. Goldschmidt Conference, Cambridge, Massachusetts, August 22-27, 1999.
  • Smith, K.S., Ranville, J.F., Lamothe, P.J., Meier, A.L., and Walton-Day, Katherine, 1999, Metal leaching through a fluvial tailings deposit along the upper Arkansas River, Colorado, Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Tailings and Mine Waste '99, Fort Collins, Colorado, January 24-27, 1999: Rotterdam, A.A. Balkema, pp. 627-632.
  • Smith, K.S., Ranville, J.F., Macalady, D.L., and Gebhard, S.C., 1999, The lack of influence of organic matter on trace-metal sorption in acidic iron-rich environments [abs.]: Geological Society of America 1999 Annual Meeting, Denver, Colorado, October, 1999. View Smith GSA abstract.
  • Smith, K.S., Ranville, J.F., Plumlee, G.S., and Macalady, D.L., 1996, Predictive double-layer modeling of metal sorption in mine-drainage systems [abs.], American Chemical Society Division of Geochemistry, Symposium on sorption of metals by earth materials: mechanisms, rates, factors, and models, National Meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana, March 24-28, 1996, GEOC 127.
  • Smith, K.S., Ranville, J.F., Plumlee, G.S., and Macalady, D.L., 1998, Predictive double-layer modeling of metal sorption in mine-drainage systems, in E.A. Jenne, ed., Adsorption of metals by geomedia: San Diego, Academic Press, pp. 521-547.
  • Smith, K.S., Sutley, S.J., Briggs, P.H., Meier, A.L., Walton-Day, Katherine, Ranville, J.F., and Jerz, J.K., 1998, Trends in water-leachable lead from a fluvial tailings deposit along the upper Arkansas River, Colorado, Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Tailings and Mine Waste '98, Fort Collins, Colorado, January 26-29, 1998: Rotterdam, A.A. Balkema, pp. 763-768.
  • Smith, K.S., Walton-Day, K., and Ranville, J.F., 2000, Evaluating the effects of fluvial tailings deposits on water quality in the Upper Arkansas River basin, Colorado: observational scale considerations, in Proceedings from the Fifth International Conference on Acid Rock Drainage: Littleton, Colorado, Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration, Inc., pp. 1415-1424.
  • Smith, K.S., Walton-Day, Katherine, and Ranville, J.F., 1999, Considerations of observational scale when evaluating the effect of, and remediation strategies for, a fluvial tailings deposit in the upper Arkansas River basin, Colorado, in Morganwalp, D.W., and Buxton, H.T., eds., U.S. Geological Survey Toxic Substances Hydrology Program--Proceedings of the Technical Meeting, Charleston, South Carolina, Volume 1--Contamination from Hardrock Mining: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 99-4018A, pp. 131-138.
  • Smith, K.S., and Huyck, H.L.O., 1994, Distinguishing geoavailability from bioavailability of metals in mining wastes [abs.]: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, vol. 26, no. 7, pp. 34.
  • Smith, K.S., and Huyck, H.L.O., 1999, An overview of the abundance, relative mobility, bioavailability, and human toxicity of metals, in Plumlee, G.S., and Logsdon, M.J., eds., The Environmental Geochemistry of Mineral Deposits, Part A: Society of Economic Geologists, Reviews in Economic Geology, vol. 6A, pp. 29-70.
  • Walton-Day, K., Jerz, J.K., Ranville, J.F., Evans, J.B., and Smith, K.S., 1996, Effects of fluvial tailings deposits on the quality of surface and ground water at a site in the upper Arkansas River Basin, Colorado [abs.]: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, vol. 28, no. 7, pp. A-466.
  • Walton-Day, K., Rossi, F.J., Gerner, L.J., Evans, J.B., Yager, T.J., Ranville, J.F., and Smith, K.S., 2000, Effects of fluvial tailings deposits on soils and surface- and ground-water quality, and implications for remediation--Upper Arkansas River, Colorado, 1992-96, Water-Resources Investigations Report 99-4273, 100 pp.
  • Webster, J.G., Nordstrom, D.K., and Smith, K.S., 1994, Transport and natural attenuation of Cu, Zn, As, and Fe in the acid mine drainage of Leviathan and Bryant Creeks, in Alpers, C.N., and Blowes, D.W., eds., Environmental geochemistry of sulfide oxidation: American Chemical Society Symposium Series 550; Washington, D.C., American Chemical Society, pp. 244-260.

Related Links

Toxic Substances Hydrology Program

Upper Arkansas River Basin Toxics Site

Upper Arkansas River Basin Homepage

Mineral Resources Program
Eastern Central GMEG Alaska Minerals Information Crustal Geophysics and Geochemistry Spatial Data

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