Water resources and effects of potential surface coal mining on dissolved solids in Hanging Woman Creek basin, southeastern Montana

Water-Resources Investigations Report 89-4047
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Abstract

Groundwater resources of the Hanging Woman Creek basin, Montana include Holocene and Pleistocene alluvial aquifers and sandstone , coal, and clinker aquifers in the Paleocene Fort Union Formation. Surface water resources are composed of Hanging Woman Creek, its tributaries, and small stock ponds. Dissolved-solids concentrations in groundwater ranged from 200 to 11,00 mg/L. Generally, concentrations were largest in alluvial aquifers and smallest in clinker aquifers. Near its mouth, Hanging Woman Creek had a median concentration of about 1,800 mg/L. Mining of the 20-foot to 35-foot-thick Anderson coal bed and 3-foot to 16-foot thick Dietz coal bed could increase dissolved-solids concentrations in shallow aquifers and in Hanging Woman Creek because of leaching of soluble minerals from mine spoils. Analysis of saturated-paste extracts from 158 overburden samples indicated that water moving through mine spoils would have a median increase in dissolved-solids concentration of about 3,700 mg/L, resulting in an additional dissolved-solids load to Hanging Woman Creek of about 3.0 tons/day. Hanging Woman Creek near Birney could have an annual post-mining dissolved-solids load of 3,415 tons at median discharge, a 47% increase from pre-mining conditions load. Post-mining concentrations of dissolved solids, at median discharge, could range from 2,380 mg/L in March to 3,940 mg/L in August, compared to mean pre-mining concentrations that ranged from 1,700 mg/L in July, November, and December to 2,060 mg/L in May. Post-mining concentrations and loads in Hanging Woman Creek would be smaller if a smaller area were mined. (USGS)

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Water resources and effects of potential surface coal mining on dissolved solids in Hanging Woman Creek basin, southeastern Montana
Series title Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number 89-4047
DOI 10.3133/wri894047
Edition -
Year Published 1989
Language ENGLISH
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey ; Copies of this report can be purchased from U.S. Geological Survey, Books and Open-File Reports Section,
Description vi, 76 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.
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