Hydrology of coal-lease areas near Durango, Colorado

Water-Resources Investigations Report 85-4125




The U.S. Bureau of Land Management leases Federal lands and minerals for coal mining near Durango, Colorado. This report addresses the hydrologic suitability of those lands for coal leasing; the report describes the general hydrology of the Durango area and, more specifically, the hydrology of the Stollsteimer Creek study area 32 miles east of the Durango and the Hay Gulch study area, 12 miles southwest of Durango. The most productive aquifers in the Durango study area are Quaternary alluvium and the tertiary Animas Formation. Water wells completed in alluvium typically yield 5 to 20 gallons/min; wells completed is the Animas Formation yield as much as 50 gallons/min. Water quality in these aquifers is variable, but it generally is suitable for domestic use. The coal-bearing Cretaceous Fruitland and Menefee Formations are mined by surface methods at the Chimney Rock Mine in the Stollsteimer Creek study area and by underground methods at the National King Coal Mine in the Hay Gulch study area. Effects of surface mining in the Stollsteimer Creek area are: (1) Dewatering of an alluvial aquifer; and (2) Local degradation of alluvium water quality by spoil-pile effluent. Effects of underground mining in the Hay Gulch area are: (1) Introduction of water with greater dissolved-solids concentrations into the upper Hay Gulch alluvium from mine runoff; (2) Subsidence fracturing which could dewater streams and the alluvial aquifer. (USGS)

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USGS Numbered Series
Hydrology of coal-lease areas near Durango, Colorado
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Water-Resources Investigations Report
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U.S. Geological Survey,
v, 46 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.