thumbnail

Hydrology of Alkali Creek and Castle Valley Ridge coal-lease tracts, central Utah, and potential effects of coal mining

Water-Resources Investigations Report 87-4186

By:
and

Links

Abstract

The Alkali Creek coal-lease tract includes about 2,150 acres in the Book Cliffs coal field in central Utah, and the Castle Valley Ridge coal-lease tract includes about 3,360 acres in the Wasatch Plateau coal field, also in central Utah. Both the Alkali Creek and Castle Valley Ridge coal-lease tracts are near areas where coal is currently (1987) mined by underground methods from the Cretaceous Blackhawk Formation. The Alkali Creek and Castle Valley Ridge areas have intermittent streams in which flow after snowmelt runoff is locally sustained into midsummer by springflow. The only perennial stream is South Fork Corner Canyon Creek in the Castle Valley Ridge area. Peak flow in both areas generally is from snowmelt runoff; however, peak flow from thunderstorm runoff in the Alkali Creek area can exceed that from snowmelt runoff. Estimated annual source-area sediment yield was 0.5 acre-ft/sq mi in the Alkali Creek lease tract and it was 0.3 acre-ft/sq mi in the Castle Valley Ridge lease tract. Groundwater in the Alkali Creek area occurs in perched aquifers in the Flagstaff Limestone and in other formations above the coal-bearing Blackhawk Formation. The principal source of recharge to the aquifers is snowmelt on outcrops. Faults may be major conduits and control the movement of groundwater. Groundwater discharges at formation contacts, between zones of differing permeability within a formation, near faults and into mines. Water sampled from 13 springs in the Alkali Creek area contained dissolved solids at concentrations ranging from 273 to 5,210 mg/L. Water sampled from 17 springs in the Castle Valley Ridge area contained dissolved solids at concentrations ranging from 208 to 579 mg/L. The composition of water from a recently abandoned part of an active mine the Wasatch Plateau closely resembles that of water discharging from a nearby mine that has been abandoned for more than 30 years. Mining of the Alkali Creek and Castle Valley Ridge coal-lease tracts likely will result in decreased pH and increased concentration of dissolved solids of the water that enters the mines. Even after mining, the water, especially in the Castle Valley Ridge area, may still meet Utah 's drinking water standards. (Lantz-PTT)

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Hydrology of Alkali Creek and Castle Valley Ridge coal-lease tracts, central Utah, and potential effects of coal mining
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
87-4186
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1988
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey,
Description:
vii, 53 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.