Missouri Water Science Center

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sediment sampling

Hydrologic technician sampling streambed sediment

The USGS began hydrologic investigations in the new exploration area in 1988 after mining companies had expressed a strong interest in the area, which was indicated by the amount of exploration activity. The first studies were directed toward the collection of background or baseline data on water flow, water quality, sediment composition, and heavy metals in stream biota. These data were collected to provide hydrologic information with which future data could be compared if mining occurs in the area. The comparison would be helpful in quantifying environmental changes induced by mining and mining-related activities.

Much of the baseline hydrologic assessment of the water and sediment quality of streams and springs in the new exploration area was accomplished from October 1988 to September 1993 and published in Kleeschulte and Sutley (1995). Water samples were collected from 29 wells, 6 stream sites on the Current River, Eleven Point River, Spring Creek, and Hurricane Creek, and 7 perennial springs in these river basins to assess the quality of surface and ground water in the exploration area. Physical properties such as specific conductance, pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen, and alkalinity were measured when the water samples were collected. The samples were submitted to the USGS laboratory in Denver, Colorado, for determination of dissolved cations, anions, trace elements, nutrients, and total organic carbon.

Stream and spring water samples also were analyzed for suspended sediment concentration. Streambed sediment samples also were collected at each spring and stream water–quality sampling site and were submitted for grain-size analysis, semi-quantitative mineralogy analysis, and quantitative elemental analysis to determine the background concentration of insoluble heavy minerals commonly associated with lead–zinc mining Kleeschulte and Sutley (1995).

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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