Hydrogeologic Characterization and Mining Impact Analysis of a Low-Yield, Fractured Granite

  • 6 Accesses


A hydrogeologic characterization and impact analysis was performed for a proposed quarry at the Hitch Rack Ranch located in the Little Turkey Creek watershed southwest of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Continuous multiple channel tubing, nested piezometers, stream flow measurements, and mapping of known seeps were used to define the three-dimensional potentiometric distribution and areas of groundwater recharge and discharge. Water balance considerations, mass balance calculations, and potentiometric response to earth tides and barometric fluctuations confirmed that the granite fracture system in the ridge area of the proposed quarry has an extremely low bulk hydraulic conductivity resulting in minimal groundwater discharge to sustain the baseflow of Little Turkey Creek. The Little Turkey Creek valley forms the major conduit for groundwater flow exiting from the upper part of watershed underlain by granite. This conclusion has significant implications with respect to mine planning to minimize projected impacts to the hydrologic system and preserve this recharge component to downgradient Denver Basin sedimentary deposits.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Access options

Buy single article

Instant unlimited access to the full article PDF.

US$ 39.95

Price includes VAT for USA

Subscribe to journal

Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.

US$ 148

This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9
Fig. 10
Fig. 11
Fig. 12
Fig. 13


  1. 1.

    Long JCS, Remer JS, Wilson CR, Witherspoon PA (1982) Porous media equivalents for networks of discontinuous fractures. Water Resour Res 18(3):645–658

  2. 2.

    Bossong CR, Caine JS, Stannard DI, Flynn JL, Stevens MR, Heiny-Dash JS (2003) Hydrologic conditions and assessment of water resources in the Turkey Creek watershed, Jefferson County, Colorado, 1998-2001. Water-Resour Investigs Rep 2003–4034(140):45 figs. Accessed 2/10/2019

  3. 3.

    Wilson JL, Guan H (2004) Mountain-block hydrology and mountain-front recharge. In: Phillips FN, Hogan J, Scanlon B (eds) Groundwater Recharge in A Desert Environment: The Southwestern United States. American Geophysical Union, Washington Accessed 2/11/2019

  4. 4.

    Nesse WD (2006) Geometry and tectonics of the Laramide Front Range, Colorado: the rocky mountain association of geologists. Mountain Geol 43(1):25–44

  5. 5.

    Trimble DE and Machette MN (1979) Geologic map of the Colorado Springs-Castle Rock Area, Front Range Urban Corridor, Colorado: U.S. Geological Survey Miscellaneous Investigations Series Map I–857-F, scale 1:100,000

  6. 6.

    U.S. Geological Survey (2018). The National map. U.S. Department of Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, National Geospatial Program. Accessed Feb 2018

  7. 7.

    Colorado Division of Water Resources – Well Permit database. Accessed Sept 2017

  8. 8.

    Western regional climate center (2019) period of record monthly climate summary. Desert Research Institute, Western Regional Climate Center. Reno, Nevada. Accessed Mar 2019

  9. 9.

    US. Geological Survey (2018). National water information system. U.S. Department of Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, National Geospatial Program. Accessed Mar 2019

  10. 10.

    Solinst Canada Ltd, Product Information. Accessed Apr 2017

  11. 11.

    Cutillo PA, Bredehoeft JD (2011) Estimating aquifer properties from the water level response to earth tides. Ground Water 49(4):600–610

  12. 12.

    Allegre V, Brodsky EE, Xue L, Nale SM, Parker BL, Cherry JA (2016) Using earth-tide induced water pressure changes to measure in situ permeability: a comparison with long-term pumping tests. Water Resour Res 52:3113–3126.

  13. 13.

    Freeze RA, Cherry JA (1979) Groundwater. Prentice Hall, Inc., Engelewood Cliffs

  14. 14.

    Bense VF, Gleeson T, Loveless SE, Bour O, Sconek J (2013) Fault zone hydrogeology. Earth Sci Rev 124:171–192

  15. 15.

    Marler J, Ge S (2003) The permeability of the Elkhorn Fault Zone, South Park, Colorado. Ground Water 41(3):321–332

  16. 16.

    Caine JS, Evans JE, Forster CB (1996) Fault zone architecture and permeability structure. Geology 18:1025–1028

  17. 17.

    Jacob CE (1940) On the flow of water in an elastic artesian aquifer. Trans Am Geophys Union 21:574–586

  18. 18.

    Todd DK (1980) Groundwater hydrology, 2nd edn. John Wiley & Sons, New York

  19. 19.

    Harbaugh AW, Banta ER, Hill MC, McDonald MG (2000) MODFLOW-2000, the U.S. geological survey modular ground-water model—user guide to modularization concepts and the groundwater flow process: U.S. Geol Survey Open-File Rep 2000–92:121

Download references


The authors acknowledge Transit Mix Concrete Co. for funding the work that provided the basis for this manuscript.

Author information

Correspondence to Michael Day.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of Interest

The work that provided the basis for this manuscript was performed while the authors were providing consulting services to Transit Mix Concrete Co.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Day, M., Kos, P. & Brinton, S. Hydrogeologic Characterization and Mining Impact Analysis of a Low-Yield, Fractured Granite. Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2020) doi:10.1007/s42461-019-00172-x

Download citation


  • Fractured media hydrogeology
  • Earth tides
  • Groundwater recharge/water budget
  • Groundwater/surface-water interaction
  • Water resources impact analysis