Oxygen isotopes of dissolved sulfate as a tool to distinguish natural and mining-related dissolved constituents

Open File Report
By:  and 

Links

Abstract

Natural and mining-related dissolved-constituent concentrations need to be distinguished in a watershed affected by abandoned mines to prioritize subbasins for remediation and to assist with the establishment
of water-quality standards. The oxygen isotopes of dissolved sulfate can be used to distinguish between natural and mining-related sources of dissolved constituents. Several methods employing the oxygen isotopes of dissolved sulfate can be used to determine the relative amounts of natural and miningrelated dissolved constituents in water: (1) the isotope-dilution equation for simple mixing zones (two
sources and one receiving stream); (2) the isotope mass-balance equation for streams receiving dissolved sulfate from multiple geologic sources; and (3) graphical relations and the mathematical solution of simultaneous equations in a watershed approach. Using the different methods for data collected during low flow, about 71 to 75 percent of the dissolved-constituent concentrations are from natural sources in selected subbasins of the upper Animas watershed.

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype Other Government Series
Title Oxygen isotopes of dissolved sulfate as a tool to distinguish natural and mining-related dissolved constituents
Series title Open File Report
Year Published 1999
Language English
Publisher USGS
Contributing office(s) Toxic Substances Hydrology Program, National Research Program - Central Branch
Description 7 p.
First page 671
Last page 678
Google Analytics Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details