The effect of acidic, metal-enriched drainage from the Wightman Fork and Alamosa River on the composition of selected wetlands in San Luis Valley, Colorado

Open-File Report 95-568
By: , and 

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Abstract

The biogeochemistry of selected wetlands in the San Luis Valley, Colorado, was examined to assess the effect of acidic, metal-enriched water draining mineralized areas near and around the Summitville Mine. The sampling protocols, analytical methods, and chemical composition of water and stream bed sediment from the Wightman Fork and Alamosa River as well as water, surface sediment or cores, and rooted aquatic vegetation from wetland sites within and west of the Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge are presented. The data indicate that As, Co, Cr, Cu, Ni, and Zn are tracers of drainage from mineralized areas around the Summitville Mine. Sediments and aquatic plants in wetlands in the San Luis Valley that receive surface water from the Alamosa River tend to have larger concentrations of certain tracer elements (e.g., Co and Cu) than wetlands that receive water from other sources. Larger concentrations of Cu, Ni, and Zn in the sediments of wetlands receiving Alamosa River water appear to be related to the presence of larger amounts of Fe oxyhydroxides. However, there is little to no variation in the concentrations of tracer elements with depth in wetlands that receive Alamosa River water. This observation suggests that the geochemistry of these wetlands has not been significantly affected by recent mining activities at the Summitville Mine.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title The effect of acidic, metal-enriched drainage from the Wightman Fork and Alamosa River on the composition of selected wetlands in San Luis Valley, Colorado
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 95-568
DOI 10.3133/ofr95568
Year Published 1995
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Contributing office(s) Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center
Description 37 p.
Country United States
State Colorado
Other Geospatial San Luis Valley