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

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Abstract

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.

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Acknowledgments

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

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Correspondence to Michael Day.

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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.

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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

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Keywords

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