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This map, compiled by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in cooperation with the Colorado Geological Survey (CGS) and the U. S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), shows potential mine-drainage hazards that may exist in Colorado metal-mining districts, as indicated by the geologic characteristics of the mineral deposits that occur in the respective districts. It was designed to demonstrate how geologic and geochemical information can be used on a regional scale to help assess the potential for mining-related and natural drainage problems in mining districts, unmined mineralized areas, and surrounding watersheds. The map also provides information on the distribution of different mineral deposit types across Colorado. A GIS (Geographic Information System) format was used to integrate geologic, geochemical, water-quality, climate, landuse, and ecological data from diverse sources. Likely mine-drainage signatures were defined for each mining district based on: (1) a review of the geologic characteristics of the mining district, including mineralogy, trace-element content, host-rock lithology, and wallrock alteration, and; (2) results of site specific studies on the geologic controls on mine-drainage composition.
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Map showing potential metal-mine drainage hazards in Colorado, based on mineral-deposit geology