thumbnail

Sources of acid and metals from the weathering of the Dinero waste pile, Lake Fork watershed, Leadville, Colorado

By:

Links

  • The Publications Warehouse does not have links to digital versions of this publication at this time
  • Download citation as: RIS | Dublin Core

Abstract

Two trenches were dug into the south Dinero mine-waste pile near Leadville, Colorado, to study the weathering of rock fragments and the mineralogic sources of metal contaminants in the surrounding wetland and Lake Fork Watershed. Water seeping from the base of the south Dinero waste-rock pile was pH 2.9, whereas leachate from a composite sample of the rock waste was pH 3.3. The waste pile was mostly devoid of vegetation, open to infiltration of precipitation, and saturated at the base because of placement in the wetland. The south mine-waste pile is composed of poorly sorted material, ranging from boulder-size to fine-grained rock fragments. The trenches showed both matrix-supported and clast-supported zones, with faint horizontal color banding, suggesting zonation of Fe oxides. Secondary minerals such as jarosite and gypsum occurred throughout the depth of the trenches. Infiltration of water and transport of dissolved material through the pile is evidenced by optically continuous secondary mineral deposits that fill or line voids. Iron-sulfate material exhibits microlaminations with shrinkage cracking and preferential dissolution of microlayers that evidence drying and wetting events. In addition to fluids, submicron-sized to very fine-grained particles such as jarosite are transported through channel ways in the pile. Rock fragments are coated with a mixture of clay, jarosite, and manganese oxides. Dissolution of minerals is a primary source of metals. Skeletal remnants of grains, outlined by Fe-oxide minerals, are common. Potassium jarosite is the most abundant jarosite phase, but Pb-and Ag-bearing jarosite are common. Grain-sized clusters of jarosite suggest that entire sulfide grains were replaced by very fine-grained jarosite crystals. The waste piles were removed from the wetland and reclaimed upslope in 2003. This was an opportunity to test methods to identify sources of acid and metals and metal transport processes within a waste pile. A series of entrapment ponds, lined with limestone rip rap, was created where the mine waste was once situated. A flooded adit discharges low-pH metal-bearing waters into the ponds. A white (Zn, Mn)-sulfate precipitate was observed in 2003 around the edges of the most distal pond.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Conference Paper
Publication Subtype:
Conference Paper
Title:
Sources of acid and metals from the weathering of the Dinero waste pile, Lake Fork watershed, Leadville, Colorado
Year Published:
2005
Language:
English
Publisher:
American Society of Mining and Reclamation
Publisher location:
Lexington, KY
Description:
15 p.
Larger Work Type:
Book
Larger Work Subtype:
Conference publication
Larger Work Title:
Proceedings of the 2005 National Meeting of the American Society of Mining and Reclamation
First page:
268
Last page:
282
Conference Title:
2005 National Meeting of the American Society of Mining and Reclamation
Conference Location:
Breckenridge, CO
Conference Date:
06/19/2005
Country:
United States
State:
Colorado
Online Only (Y/N):
N
Additional Online Files (Y/N):
N