Estimating natural background groundwater chemistry, Questa molybdenum mine, New Mexico

By: , and 
Edited by: Lisa A. Morgan and Steven L. Quane



This 2 1/2 day field trip will present an overview of a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) project whose objective was to estimate pre-mining groundwater chemistry at the Questa molybdenum mine, New Mexico. Because of intense debate among stakeholders regarding pre-mining groundwater chemistry standards, the New Mexico Environment Department and Chevron Mining Inc. (formerly Molycorp) agreed that the USGS should determine pre-mining groundwater quality at the site. In 2001, the USGS began a 5-year, multidisciplinary investigation to estimate pre-mining groundwater chemistry utilizing a detailed assessment of a proximal natural analog site and applied an interdisciplinary approach to infer pre-mining conditions. The trip will include a surface tour of the Questa mine and key locations in the erosion scar areas and along the Red River. The trip will provide participants with a detailed understanding of geochemical processes that influence pre-mining environmental baselines in mineralized areas and estimation techniques for determining pre-mining baseline conditions.

Study Area

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Estimating natural background groundwater chemistry, Questa molybdenum mine, New Mexico
DOI 10.1130/2010.0018(07)​
Year Published 2010
Language English
Publisher Geological Society of America
Publisher location Boulder, Colo.
Contributing office(s) Central Mineral and Environmental Resources Science Center, Toxic Substances Hydrology Program
Description 21 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Monograph
Larger Work Title Through the generations: Geologic and anthropogenic field excursions in the Rocky Mountains from modern to ancient
First page 141
Last page 161
Country United States
State New Mexico
Other Geospatial Questa molybdenum mine
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
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