Stream response to subsidence from underground coal mining in central Utah
Short-term geomorphic and hydrologic effects of subsidence induced by longwall mining under Burnout Creek, Utah were evaluated. During the year after longwall mining, 0.3–1.5 m of subsidence was measured near impacted reaches of the mountain stream channel. The major channel changes that occurred in a 700-m reach of Burnout Creek that was subsided from 1992 to 1993 were: (1) increase in lengths of cascades and to a lesser extent glides; (2) increases in pool length, numbers and volumes; (3) increase in median particle diameter of bed sediment in pools; and (4) some constriction in channel geometry. Most of the changes appeared short-lived, with channel recovery approaching pre-mining conditions by 1994. In a 300-m reach of the South Fork that was subsided from 1993 to 1994, only channel constriction was observed, although any impacts on pool morphology may have been confounded by heavy grazing in the riparian reaches during the dry summer of 1994. Similar near-channel sedimentation and loss of pool volume between 1993 and 1994 were noted throughout Burnout Creek and in adjacent, unmined James Creek. Subsidence during the 3-year period had no effect on baseflows or near-channel landslides.
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