USGS - science for a changing world

Environmental Health - Toxic Substances

Research Projects

Hardrock Mining in Rocky Mountain Terrain -- Upper Arkansas River, Colorado

A stream with yellow iron hydroxide precipitate.
Springs in abandoned mine lands can have high concentrations of metals, such as this one in the St. Kevin Gulch Watershed, Colo. The yellow-orange color is due to iron hydroxide precipitates from the acidic, metal-rich water in the spring.

Project Homepage
[maintained by project researchers]
Project Bibliography
163 Publications
Project Photo Gallery

Mined watersheds in the Rocky Mountains are characterized by high altitudes, significant runoff and numerous contaminant sources dispersed through the watershed. Research on hardrock mining contamination in Rocky Mountain terrain is focused in the Arkansas River Basin. Acid mine drainage containing metals enter streams via runoff from mine wastes and tailings and ground-water pathways. The metals and acidic conditions are toxic to aquatic life. Scientists have studied contaminant source mechanisms, transport and transformation in streams, and how to use this knowledge to determine effective remedial strategies.

Related Headlines

More Information

Project Remediation Related Activities

Other Acid Mine Drainage Remediation Related Activates

Other USGS Information on Acid Mine Drainage and Abandoned Mine Lands

Back to Watershed Contamination from Hard-Rock Mining Research Projects

Back to Watershed- and Regional-Scale Contamination Research Projects

USGS Home Water Climate Change Science Systems Ecosystems Energy and Minerals Environmental Health Hazards

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

USA.gov logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
URL: http://toxics.usgs.gov/sites/upper_ark_page.html
Page Contact Information:
Page Last Modified: Tuesday, 13-May-2014 11:58:02 EDT