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Chemical Modeling of Acid Waters

Iron Mountain, Shasta County, CA

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The copper mines at Iron Mountain, a Superfund site since 1983, have been the focus of several research studies by our project in support of remedial decision-making. Geochemical modeling of acid mine waters, ferrous iron oxidation rate studies, mass balance studies, measurements of negative pH, and modeling to demonstrate the consequences of mine plugging have been among the main results from our projectís work at this site in collaboration with the California District in Sacramento. Current studies are being completed on the geochemistry, toxicity, and sorption of metals in sediments formed by neutralization of acid mine waters in a reservoir.

Melanterite stalactite inside Iron MM      Acid Mine Water, Iron MM      Sulfuric acid drip inside Iron Mountain Mine

ALPERS, C.N., NORDSTROM, D.K. and BURCHARD, J.M. (1992): Compilation and interpretation of water-quality and discharge data for acidic mine waters at Iron Mountain, Shasta County, California, 1940-91, U.S. Geol. Surv. Water-Resources Investig. Report 91-4160.

ALPERS, C.N., NORDSTROM, D.K. and THOMPSON, J.M. (1994): Seasonal variations of Zn/Cu ratios in acid mine water from Iron Mountain, California. In Environmental Geochemistry of Sulfide Oxidation (C.N. Alpers & D.W. Blowes, eds.). Am. Chem. Soc. Symp. Ser. 550, 324-344.

ALPERS, C.N., NORDSTROM, D.K., VEROSUB, K.L. and HELM, C.M. (1999): Paleomagnetic reversal in Iron Mountain gossan provides limits on long-term premining metal flux rates. Geol. Soc. Am. Program Abs. 31, A-33

ALPERS, C.N., ANTWEILER, R.A., TAYLOR, H.E., DILEANIS, P.D. and DOMAGALSKI, J.L. (2000b): Metals transport in the Sacramento River, California, 1996-97. Volume 2. Interpretation of metal loads. U.S. Geol. Surv. Water-Resources Investig. Report 00-4002.

ALPERS, C.N., TAYLOR, H.E. and DOMAGALSKI, J.L., editors (2000a): Metals transport in the Sacramento River, California, 1996-97. Volume 1. Methods and data. U.S. Geol. Surv. Water-Resources Investig. Report 99-4286.

JAMBOR, J.L., NORDSTROM, D.K. and ALPERS, C.N. (2000): Metal-sulfate salts from sulfide mineral oxidation, In Sulfate Minerals: Crystallography, Geochemistry, and Environmental Significance (C.N. Alpers, J.L. Jambor & D.K. Nordstrom, eds.). Rev. Mineral. Geochem. 40, 303-350.

JAMIESON, H.E, ALPERS, C.N., NORDSTROM, D.K. and PETERSON, R.C. (1999): Substitution of zinc and other metals in iron-sulfate minerals at Iron Mountain, California. In Sudbury '99: Mining and the Environment II, Vol. 1 (D. Goldsack, N. Belzile, P. Yearwood & G. Hall, eds.). Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario (231-241).

JAMIESON, H.E., ROBINSON, C., ALPERS, C.N., McCLESKEY, R.B., NORDSTROM, D.K. and PETERSON, R.C. (2005) Major and trace element composition of copiapite-group minerals and coexisting water from the Richmond mine, Iron Mountain, California. Chem. Geol. 215, 387-405 (Special Issue on sulfate minerals).

NORDSTROM, D.K. (1985): The rate of ferrous iron oxidation in a stream receiving acid mine effluent. U.S. Geol. Surv. Water-Supply Paper 2270, 113-119.

NORDSTROM, D.K. and ALPERS, C.N. (1999b): Negative pH, efflorescent mineralogy, and consequences for environmental restoration at the Iron Mountain Superfund site, California. Proceed. National Acad. Sci. USA 96, 3455-3462.

NORDSTROM, D.K., JENNE, E.A. and AVERETT, R.C. (1977): Heavy metal discharges into Shasta Lake and Keswick Reservoir on the Sacramento River, California - A reconnaissance during low flow, U.S. Geol. Surv. Open-File Report 76-49.

NORDSTROM, D.K., ALPERS, C.N., COSTON, J.A., TAYLOR, H.E., McCLESKEY, R.B., BALL, J.W., OGLE, S., COTSIFAS, J.S. and DAVIS, J.A. (1999): Geochemistry, toxicity, and sorption properties of contaminated sediments and pore waters from two reservoirs receiving mine drainage. U.S. Geol. Surv. Water-Resources Investig. Report 99-4018A, 289-296.

NORDSTROM, D.K., ALPERS, C.N., PTACEK, C.J. and BLOWES, D.W. (2000): Negative pH and extremely acidic mine waters from Iron Mountain, California: Environ. Sci. Technol. 34, 254-258.

ROBBINS, E.I., RODGERS, T.M., ALPERS, C.N. and NORDSTROM, D.K. (2000): Ecogeochemistry of the subsurface food web at pH 0 - 2.5 in Iron Mountain, California, USA. Hydrobiologia 433, 15-23.

ALPERS, C.N., NORDSTROM, D.K., and SPITZLEY, J. (2003) Extreme acid mine drainage from a massive sulfide deposit: The Iron Mountain end-member, In Environmental Aspects of Mine Wastes, Jambor, J.L., Blowes, D.L., and Ritchie, A. I. M., eds., Mineral. Assoc. Canada Short Course Series 31, 407-430.

NORDSTROM, D. K. and POTTER, R. W., II (1977) The interactions between acid mine waters and rhyolite, Second International Symposium on Water Rock Interactions, Strasbourg, France, I 15 I 26.

POTTER, R. W., II and NORDSTROM, D. K. (1977) The weathering of sulfide ores in Shasta County, California, U.S.A., Second International Symposium on Water Rock Interactions, Strasbourg, France, I 42 I 46.

NORDSTROM, D. K., JENNE, E. A. and BALL, J. W. (1979) Redox equilibria of iron in acid mine waters, in Jenne, E. A., ed., Chemical Modeling in Aqueous Systems, Am. Chem. Soc. Symp. Series 93, 51 80.

NORDSTROM, D. K. (1982) Aqueous pyrite oxidation and the consequent formation of secondary iron minerals, in Kittrick, J. A., Fanning, D. S., and Hossner, L. R., eds., Acid Sulfate Weathering, Soil Sci. Soc. Am. Publ., 37 56.

ALPERS, C. N., NORDSTROM, D. K. and BALL, J. W. (1989) Solubility of jarosite solid solutions precipitated from acid mine waters, Iron Mountain, California, U.S.A., Sci. Geol. Bull. 42, 281-298.

ALPERS, C.N. and NORDSTROM, D.K. (1990) Stoichiometry of mineral reactions from mass balance computations for acid mine waters, Iron Mountain, California, In Acid Mine Drainage-Designing for Closure, J.W. Gadsy, J.W. Malick, and S.J. Day, (eds.), BiTech Publishers, Vancouvor, B.C., 23-33.

NORDSTROM, D.K. BURCHARD, J.M. and ALPERS, C.N. (1990) The production and variability of acid mine drainage at Iron Mountain, California: A Superfund Site undergoing rehabilitation, In Acid Mine Drainage-Designing for Closure, J.W. Gadsy, J.W. Malick, and S.J. Day (eds.), BiTech Publishers, Vancouver, B.C., 23-33.

ALPERS, C. N. and NORDSTROM, D. K. (1991) Geochemical evolution of extremely acid mine waters at Iron Mountain, California: Are there any lower limits to pH? Second International Conference on the Abatement of Acidic Drainage, Montreal, CANADA, v. 2, 321-341.

NORDSTROM, D.K. and ALPERS, C.N. (1995) Remedial investigations, decisions, and geochemical consequences at Iron Mountain Mine, California. Sudbury 95, Conference on Mining and the Environment, Sudbury, Ontario, May 28-June 1, 633-642.

NORDSTROM, D.K. (1997) Videotape lecture: Negative pH, ultra-acidic mine waters and the challenge of environmental restoration at the Iron Mountain Mine Superfund Site, U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 97-355, 72 min.

NORDSTROM, D.K. (2004) Negative pH, efflorescent mineralogy, and the challenge of environmental restoration at the Iron Mountain Superfund mine site, or why not to plug a mine, In GIS - Geoscience Applications and Developments/ Treatment technologies for mining impacted water, Proc. Workshop at the Geological Institute of the Technical University of the Mining Academy at Freiberg, June 18, 2004, Wissenschaftliche Mitteilungen 25, 125-131.

 

Participants:  Kirk Nordstrom, James Ball, Jennifer Coston (NRP), Charles Alpers (CA District)


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Last Updated: 01/20/2011