Streambed-sediment samples were collected in the Southern Rocky Mountains physiographic province in the Upper Colorado River Basin in Colorado to characterize the occurrence and distribution of trace elements in mined and nonmined areas of the basin. During October 1995 and September 1996, streambed sediment was collected at 37 sites, and the samples were analyzed for trace elements. The ranges in concentrations of As, Cd, Cu, Pb, and Zn at mining sites generally were orders of magnitude higher than the ranges of concentrations at nonmining sites. Sampling sites located in two predominant rock types in mining areas were not significantly different (p > 0.05) for concentrations of As, Cd, Pb, and Zn. Cu was significantly different (p < 0.05) between sites in the two predominant rock types. Concentrations of As, Cd, Cu, Pb, and Zn were not significantly different (p > 0.05) between main-stem sites and tributary sites. Concentrations of As, Cd, Cu, Pb, and Zn exceeded established guidelines for adverse effects on aquatic biota at some sites in the study area. The patterns in concentrations of Cd and Zn, Cd and Pb, and Pb and Zn were highly correlated to one another in this study. Concentrations of trace elements in the <63-??m fraction were higher than in the total particle-size fraction analysis. Comparison of reference sites to sites affected by a mine source indicated that trace- element concentrations initially increased downstream of the source and then gradually decreased in concentration with distance from the source.
Additional Publication Details
Distribution of trace elements in streambed sediment associated with mining activities in the Upper Colorado River Basin, Colorado, USA, 1995-96
Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology