Geochemical Interpretation of the Watershed within the Snake River Drainage Basin, Montezuma, Colorado
Advisor:Pride, Douglas E.
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Department of Geological Sciences Senior Theses; 1995
The principal objective of this study is to determine the abundance of mine effluent within the Snake River, and to describe quantitatively changes in the chemical composition of the water as it flows through the area of the Montezuma mining district. Waters of the Snake River and its tributaries contain significant sulfate, which is derived from the oxidation of sulfide minerals in mine tailings from various mining operations within the drainage basin. Groundwaters in the drainage basin contain significant concentrations of the major conservative elements calcium, potassium, magnesium, and sodium, which are derived from the chemical weathering of a Precambrian hornblende gneiss and a Tertiary quartz monzonite. The effect of the sulfate-rich mine effluent shows an apparent decrease downstream within the Snake River as these waters become diluted by groundwater enriched in the conservative elements.