Missouri Water Science Center

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DYE TRACE STUDIES

Dye injection

 

Dye injection

Rhodamine-WT dye was injected into the flow of Jam Up Creek near the Mountain View wastewater treatment plant on 10 July 2001.

 

 

 

 

The dye was detected in water discharging from Big Spring 42 days after the injection after traveling 38 miles through the ground-water system.

Dye injection

 

Dye injection

 

Historical dye–tracing investigations (Aley, 1975); data on file at the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Geological Survey and Resource Assessment Division) have indicated that the recharge area of Big Spring includes the area of lead–zinc exploration. The USGS has conducted additional dye–trace investigations to further define the spring recharge area and more accurately measure ground–water travel times. Ground–water level measurements made in domestic and public supply wells in October 1992 (low base flow period) and June 1993 (high base flow period) were used in conjunction with the dye–trace data to determine ground–water flow directions in the area between the Prospecting Permit Application Area (PPAA) and Big Spring and to further identify areas of mature karst development (Imes and Kleeschulte, 1995).

Big Spring and Greer Spring recharge areas

Big Spring and Greer Spring recharge areas.

Successful dye–trace investigations shown as arrows in the above map indicate a straight–line flow path between the location where dye was injected into the environment and location (spring) where it was recovered. The injection locations usually are sinkholes or losing stream reaches, and the recovery locations usually are springs, but can be creeks and rivers as well. The shaded areas shown on the map are approximations of the probable extent of Big Spring and Greer Spring recharge areas as suggested by the accumulated evidence from the dye-trace experiments.

For more information contact:

David C. Smith, Hydrologist

U.S. Geological Survey

Missouri Water Science Center

1400 Independence Rd., MS 100

Rolla, MO 65401

Telephone: (573) 308-3675

Fax:(573) 308-3645


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