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The chemical quality of water in the southeastern Uinta Basin, Utah and Colorado, is important to the future development of the abundant oil-shale resources of the area. This report examines the observed changes in chemistry as water circulates in both shallow and deep ground-water systems. Mass-balance and mass-transfer calculations are used to define reactions that simulate the observed water chemistry in the mixed sandstone, siltstone, and carbonate lithology of the Green River Formation of Tertiary age.
The mass-transfer calculations determine a reaction path particular to this system. The early dominance of calcite dissolution produces a calcium carbonate water. After calcite saturation, deeper circulation and further rock-water interaction cause the reprecipitation of calcite, the dissolution of dolomite and plagioclase, and the oxidation of pyrite; all combining to produce a calcium magnesium sodium bicarbonate sulfate water. The calculations suggest that silica concentrations are controlled by a kaolinite-Ca-montmorillonite phase boundary. Close agreement of mineral-saturation indices calculated by both an aqueous-equilibrium model and the mass-transfer model support the selection of reactions from the mass-transfer calculations.
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Geochemistry of spring water, southeastern Uinta Basin, Utah and Colorado