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Geohydrology and potential hydrologic effects of underground coal mining in the Rapid Creek Basin, Mesa County, Colorado

Water-Resources Investigations Report 86-4172

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Abstract

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management may lease additional coal tracts in the Rapid Creek basin, Colorado. Springs in this basin are used as a water supply for the town of Palisade. The geohydrology of the basin is described and the potential hydrologic effects of underground coal mining in the basin summarized. Geologic formations in the basin consists of Cretaceous sandstone and shale, Tertiary sandstone, shale, and basalt, and unconsolidated deposits of Quaternary age. Some sandstone and coal beds are permeable, although bedrock in the basin typically is a confining bed. Unconsolidated deposits contain aquifers that are the source of spring discharge. Stream discharge was measured on Rapid and Cottonwood Creeks, and inventories were made of 7 reservoirs, 25 springs, and 12 wells. Specific conductance of streams ranged from 320 to 1,050 microsiemens/cm at 25C; pH ranged from 7.8 to 8.6. Specific conductance of springs ranged from 95 to 1,050 microsiemens/cm at 25C; pH ranged from 6.8 to 8.3. Discharge from the basin includes about 18,800 acre-ft/yr as evapotranspiration, 1,300 acre-ft/yr as springflow, 1,280 acre-ft/yr as streamflow, and negligible groundwater flow in bedrock. With appropriate mining methods, underground mining would not decrease flow in basin streams or from springs. The potential effects of mining-caused subsidence might include water-pipeline damage and temporary dewatering of bedrock adjacent to coal mining. (Author 's abstract)

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Geohydrology and potential hydrologic effects of underground coal mining in the Rapid Creek Basin, Mesa County, Colorado
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
86-4172
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1986
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey,
Description:
iv, 28 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.