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Hydrology of the coal-resource areas in the upper drainages of Huntington and Cottonwood creeks, central Utah

Open-File Report 81-539

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Abstract

This coal-resource area in the Upper drainages of Huntington and Cottonwood Creeks of central Utah was studied in order to better define the hydrologic system, to identify the hydrologic effects of underground coal mining, and to devise methods to detect these effects. Discharge records from gaging stations in this mountainous area indicated that there are large differences in the annual discharge of streams per unit area of drainage. These differences are attributed to differences in precipitation, differences in evaporation and sublimation of the snowpack, and to subsurface movement of water out of some basins, mainly along fractures. Dissolved-solids concentrations in surface waters ranged from 130 to 503 milligrams per liter; in ground water from about 140 springs dissolved solids ranged for 50 to 750 milligrams per liter. The Star Point Sandstone and the lower coal-bearing part of the Blackhawk Formation, both of Cretaceous age, are saturated in some areas, and the aquifer yields water to underground coal mines. Most of the larger springs in the study area discharge from the Star Point-Blackhawk aquifer where faulted. Ground water also occurs in several zones above the Star Point-Blackhawk aquifer. Possible impacts due to mine dewatering include the diminution of spring flows and increases tne ground-water recharge, both of which are more likely to occur where rocks have been fractured due to subsidence above mines. The discharge of mine waters into streams causes some degradation in surface-water quality. The year-to-year similarity of spring discharge recession curves may provide a method to detect unnatural changes in the ground-water system. Pollutants entering surface waters may be detected by changes in the population of benthic invertebrates. (USGS)

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Hydrology of the coal-resource areas in the upper drainages of Huntington and Cottonwood creeks, central Utah
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
81-539
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1981
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey,
Description:
46 leaves :ill., maps ;28 cm.