The Standard Mine Superfund Site is a source of mine drainage and associated heavy metal contamination of surface and groundwaters. The site contains Tertiary polymetallic quartz veins and fault zones that host precious and base metal sulfide mineralization common in Colorado. To assist the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in its effort to remediate mine-related contamination, we characterized geologic structures, host rocks, and their potential hydraulic properties to better understand the sources of contaminants and the local hydrogeology. Real time kinematic and handheld global positioning systems were used to locate and map precisely the geometry of the surface traces of structures and mine-related features, such as portals. New reconnaissance geologic mapping, field and x-ray diffraction mineralogy, rock sample collection, thin-section analysis, and elemental geochemical analysis were completed to characterize hydrothermal alteration, mineralization, and subsequent leaching of metallic phases. Surface and subsurface observations, fault vein and fracture network characterization, borehole geophysical logging, and mercury injection capillary entry pressure data were used to document potential controls on the hydrologic system.
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USGS Numbered Series
Characterization of Geologic Structures and Host Rock Properties Relevant to the Hydrogeology of the Standard Mine in Elk Basin, Gunnison County, Colorado