The core from two boreholes (13.1 and 19.2 m depth) drilled 500 m apart in the fractured, welded tuff near the summit of the Snowshoe Mountain, Colorado (47??30'N, 106??55'W) had unique petrographic and hydrodynamic properties. Borehole SM-4 had highly variable annual water levels, in contrast to SM-1a, whose water level remained near the land surface. Core samples from both boreholes (n = 10 and 11) were examined petrographically in thin sections impregnated with epoxy containing rhodamine to mark the pore system features, and were analyzed for matrix porosity and permeability. Core from the borehole sampling the vadose zone was characterized by open fractures with enhanced porosity around phenocrysts due to chemical weathering. Fractures within the borehole sampling the phreatic zone were mineralized with calcite and had porosity characteristics similar to Unweathered and unfractured rock. At the top of the phreatic zone petrography indicates that calcite is dissolving, thereby changing the hydrogeochemical character of the rock (i.e. permeability, porosity, reactive surface area, and mineralogy). Radiocarbon ages and C and O stable isotopes indicate that calcite mineralization occurred about 30 to 40 ka ago and that there was more than one mineralization event. Results of this study also provide some relationships between primary porosity development from 3 types of fracture in a welded tuff. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd.
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Transient calcite fracture fillings in a welded tuff, Snowshoe Mountain, Colorado