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Water resources and effects of potential surface coal mining on dissolved solids in Hanging Woman Creek basin, southeastern Montana

Water-Resources Investigations Report 89-4047

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Abstract

Groundwater resources of the Hanging Woman Creek basin, Montana include Holocene and Pleistocene alluvial aquifers and sandstone , coal, and clinker aquifers in the Paleocene Fort Union Formation. Surface water resources are composed of Hanging Woman Creek, its tributaries, and small stock ponds. Dissolved-solids concentrations in groundwater ranged from 200 to 11,00 mg/L. Generally, concentrations were largest in alluvial aquifers and smallest in clinker aquifers. Near its mouth, Hanging Woman Creek had a median concentration of about 1,800 mg/L. Mining of the 20-foot to 35-foot-thick Anderson coal bed and 3-foot to 16-foot thick Dietz coal bed could increase dissolved-solids concentrations in shallow aquifers and in Hanging Woman Creek because of leaching of soluble minerals from mine spoils. Analysis of saturated-paste extracts from 158 overburden samples indicated that water moving through mine spoils would have a median increase in dissolved-solids concentration of about 3,700 mg/L, resulting in an additional dissolved-solids load to Hanging Woman Creek of about 3.0 tons/day. Hanging Woman Creek near Birney could have an annual post-mining dissolved-solids load of 3,415 tons at median discharge, a 47% increase from pre-mining conditions load. Post-mining concentrations of dissolved solids, at median discharge, could range from 2,380 mg/L in March to 3,940 mg/L in August, compared to mean pre-mining concentrations that ranged from 1,700 mg/L in July, November, and December to 2,060 mg/L in May. Post-mining concentrations and loads in Hanging Woman Creek would be smaller if a smaller area were mined. (USGS)

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Water resources and effects of potential surface coal mining on dissolved solids in Hanging Woman Creek basin, southeastern Montana
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
89-4047
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1989
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey ; Copies of this report can be purchased from U.S. Geological Survey, Books and Open-File Reports Section,
Description:
vi, 76 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.