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Effects of surface coal mining and reclamation on the geohydrology of six small watersheds in west-central Indiana

Open-File Report 87-210

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Abstract

The watersheds studied include mined and reclaimed; mined and unreclaimed; and unmined, agricultural land uses, and are each < 3 sq mi in area. Surface water, groundwater, and meteorologic data for the 1981 and 1982 water years were used to describe and compare hydrologic systems of the six watersheds and to identify hydrologic effects of mining and reclamation. Peak discharges were greater at the agricultural watersheds than at the unreclaimed watersheds, primarily because of large final-cut lakes in the unreclaimed watersheds. Annual runoff was greatest at the unreclaimed watersheds, intermediate at the agricultural watersheds, and least at the reclaimed watersheds. Hydrologic effects of mining were identified by comparing the hydrologic systems at mined and unreclaimed watersheds with those at unmined, agricultural watersheds. Comparisons of the hydrologic systems of these watersheds indicate that surface coal mining without reclamation has the potential to increase annual runoff, base flow, and groundwater recharge to the bedrock; reduce peak flow rates and variation in flow; lower the water table in upland areas; change the relation between surface water and groundwater divides; and create numerous, local flow systems in the shallow groundwater. Hydrologic effects of reclamation were identified by comparing the hydrologic systems at mined and reclaimed watersheds with those at mined and unreclaimed watersheds. Reclamation has the potential to decrease annual runoff, base flow, and recharge to the bedrock; increase peak flow rates, variation in flow, and response to thunderstorms; reestablish the premining relation between surface and groundwater divides; and create fewer local flow systems in the shallow groundwater. (Lantz-PTT)

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Effects of surface coal mining and reclamation on the geohydrology of six small watersheds in west-central Indiana
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
87-210
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1987
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey,
Description:
vii, 99 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.