Hydrology of coal-resource areas in the southern Wasatch Plateau, central Utah

Water-Resources Investigations Report 82-4009




The study defines the surface and groundwater hydrology of coal-resources areas in the Southern Wasatch Plateau in Central Utah and, where possible, predicts the hydrologic impacts of underground mining. Discharge data at four streamflow gaging stations indicated that from 5 to 29% of the average annual precipitation on a drainage runs off streams, mainly during the snowmelt period (spring and summer). Most of the base flow of streams originates as spring discharge in the higher altitudes of drainages. Peak flows, average 7-day flood flows, and flood depths were related to basin characteristics in order to develop flood equations for ungaged sites. Chemical quality of surface water was suitable for most uses. Dissolved-solids concentrations ranged from 97 to 835 milligrams per liter in 61 samples collected throughout the area. Data from wells and coal-test holes, and a comprehensive spring inventory indicate that groundwater occurs in all geologic units exposed in the study area. The coal-bearing Blackhawk Formation and underlying Star Point Sandstone are saturated in most areas. Some future mining operations would require dewatering of the Star Point-Blackhawk aquifer. Most of the springs issue from the Flagstaff Limestone and North Horn Formation above the Star Point-Blackhawk aquifer. It is not known whether water in the Flagstaff and North Horn is perched. Dissolved-solids concentrations in groundwater ranged from 105 to 1,080 milligrams per liter in 87 analyzed samples. Water levels in wells, the discharge of springs, benthic invertebrates in streams, and quantity and quality of mine effluents all need to be monitored in order to detect changes in the hydrologic system caused by coal mining. (USGS)

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Hydrology of coal-resource areas in the southern Wasatch Plateau, central Utah
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Water-Resources Investigations Report
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U.S. Geological Survey,
vi, 71 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.