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GMEG - Mineral and Environmental Resources

Western U.S. Phosphate Project

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DELIVERABLES:

Conduct research on the residence and behavior of selenium and associated trace elements in conditions ranging from the original depositional environment through current condition, mining and waste disposal, mobilization, transport, fate, and impact. Field studies are undertaken in selected watersheds representing a variety of circumstances including active mining, reclaimed waste dumps (such as the one implicated in the selenium poisoning incident), abandoned mines, unmined deposits, and non-mineralized areas.

Establish background/baseline geologic, geochemical, and geophysical data for the district in order to evaluate the long-term environmental and economic impacts of phosphate mining.

Update and complete geologic mapping and resource estimations within the district for areas not yet mined.

Utilize results of above research efforts to construct deposit and geoenvironmental models designed to 1) better understand and, where appropriate, help predict potential impacts of future mining and 2) identify optimal mining and reclamation strategies throughout the Western Phosphate Field.

Block diagram

Open File Reports of research work are issued regularly. Because raw data acquired during the project will require time to interpret, the data are released in open-file reports for prompt availability to other workers. Open-file reports associated with this series of resource and geoenvironmental studies are submitted to Federal and industry cooperators for comment; however, the USGS is solely responsible for the data contained in the reports.

Western US Phosphate Project Field Workshops were held in Soda Springs, Idaho in June 1998 and 1999. Approximately 25 participants attended the two-day workshop in 1998, visiting active phosphate mines and several outcrops in the SE Idaho Phosphate District. Fifty participants in the 1999 workshop heard one-half day of presentations on phosphate and USGS research activities followed by one and one-half days of field visits to research sites and relevant features. The USGS is a participant in the Selenium Working Group and the Selenium Advisory Committee. Several presentations on the research activities of USGS scientists were made to these groups by project staff from 1998 through 2000. A project science meeting for USGS staff and cooperators was held in February 2001.

POTENTIAL IMPACTS AND MAJOR PRODUCTS:

Project research should lead to a better understanding of the distribution and controls of phosphate mineralization in the Western Phosphate Field, as well as an understanding of the relationship of Selenium and other potentially toxic elements to the mineralization and the route by which these elements mobilize, concentrate, and become bioavailable. Such information will allow land management agencies, phosphate mining and processing companies, agriculture concerns and others to avoid or minimize negative environmental consequences. In addition, completion of the geologic mapping and resource estimation will assist the BLM with decisions related to phosphate valuation and leasing.

Selenium crystals


PUBLICATIONS

Hein, J.R., ed., 2004. Life cycle of the Phosphoria Formation; from deposition to the post-mining environment. Elsevier, Amsterdam, Handbook of Exploration and Environmental Geochemistry 8, 635 pp., plus a CD.

To view table of contents, go to:
http://www.elsevier.com/inca/publications/store/6/8/1/0/3/7/

Rock Characterization - Chemistry and Depositional Environment

Desborough, G., DeWitt, E., Jones, J., Meier, A. and Meeker, G., 1999, Preliminary mineralogical and chemical studies related to the potential mobility of selenium and associated elements in Phosphoria Formation strata, southeastern Idaho: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 99-129, 20 p.

Desborough, G.A., Grauch, R.I., Crock, J.G., Meeker, G.P., Herring, J.R., and Tysdal, R.G., 2000, Low temperature volatilization of selenium from rock samples of the Phosphoria Formation in southeastern Idaho: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 00-009, 9 p.

Herring, J.R., Desborough, G.A., Tysdal, R.G., Grauch, R.I., and Gunter, M.E., 1999, Selenium in weathered and unweathered parts of the Meade Peak Phosphatic member of the Phosphoria Formation, southeastern Idaho [abstract]: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Rocky Mountain Section, April 1999.

Herring, J.R., Desborough, G.A., Wilson, S.A., Tysdal, R.G., Grauch, R.I., and Gunter, M.E., 1999, Chemical composition of weathered and unweathered strata of the Meade Peak Phosphatic Shale Member of the Permian Phosphoria Formation-A. Measured sections A and B, central part of Rasmussen Ridge, Caribou County, Idaho: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 99-147-A, 24 p.

Herring, J.R., Grauch, R.I., Desborough, G.A., Tysdal, R.G., 1999, Environmentally sensitive trace elements in weathered and unweathered parts of the Meade Peak Phosphatic Shale Member of the Phosphoria Formation, southeastern Idaho, U.S. [abstract]: SGA/IAGOD meeting in London, August, 1999.

Herring, J.R., Wilson, S.A., Stillings, L.A., Knudsen, A.C., Gunter, M.E., Tysdal, R.G., Grauch, R.I., Desborough, G.A., and Zielinski, R.A., 2000, Chemical composition of weathered and less weathered strata of the Meade Peak Phosphatic Shale Member of the Permian Phosphoria Formation-B. Measured sections C and D, Dry Valley, Caribou County, Idaho: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 99-147-B, 33 p.

Herring, J.R., Grauch, R.I., Desborough, G.A., Wilson, S.A., and Tysdal, R.G., 2000, Chemical composition of weathered and less weathered strata of the Meade Peak Phosphatic Shale Member of the Permian Phosphoria Formation-C. Measured sections E and F, Rasmussen Ridge, Caribou County, Idaho: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 99-147-C, 35 p.

Herring, J.R., and others, 2000, Chemical composition of weathered and less weathered strata of the Meade Peak Phosphatic Shale Member of the Permian Phosphoria Formation--D. Measured sections G and H, Sage Creek Canyon area of the Webster Range, Caribou County, Idaho, U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 99-147-D, 38 p.

Herring, J.R. and Wilson, S.A., 2001, Phosphatic shale analytical quality control materials of the USGS Western U.S. Phosphate Project--Bulk geochemical characterization and water leachate analysis: U.S. Geological Survey Open File Report 01-0024, 30 p.

Grauch, R.I., Meeker, G.P., Desborough, G.A., Driscoll, R.L., Herring, J.R., Tysdal, R.G., and Johnson, E.A., 2000, Selenium and nickel mobility in the Phosphoria Formation [abstract]: Geological Society of America meeting, November, 2000.

Grauch, R.I., Meeker, G.P., Desborough, G.A., Tysdal, R.G., Herring, J.R., and Moyle, P.R., 1999, Selenium residence in the Phosphoria Formation [abstract]: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 31, no. 7, p. A35.

Grauch, R.I., Meeker, G.P., Herring, J.R., Tysdal, R.G., Desborough, G.A., Johnson, E.A., and Moyle, P.R., 2000, Selenium, phosphate mining and the environment [abstract]: Northwest Mining Association 106th Annual Meeting, USGS Open Industry Briefing, December 5, 2000.

Piper, D.Z., 1999, Trace elements and major-element oxides in the Phosphoria Formation at Enoch Valley, Idaho-Permian Sources and current reactivities: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 99-163, 66 p.

Piper, D. Z., 1999, Ancient sources and current hosts and reactivities of trace elements in the Phosphoria Formation [abstract]: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Rocky Mountain Section, April 1999.

Stratigraphy

Tysdal, R.G., Desborough, G.A., Herring, J.R., Grauch, R.I., and Stillings, L.A., 2000, Stratigraphic sections and equivalent uranium (eU), Meade Peak Phosphatic Shale Member of Permian Phosphoria Formation, Dry Valley, Caribou County, Idaho: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 99-20-B, with text.

Tysdal, R.G., Johnson, E.A., Herring, J.R., and Desborough, G.A., 1999, Stratigraphic sections and equivalent uranium (eU), Meade Peak Phosphatic Shale Member of Permian Phosphoria Formation, central part of Rasmussen Ridge, Caribou County, Idaho: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 99-20-A, 1 plate.

Tysdal, R.G., Grauch, R.I., Desborough, G.A., and Herring, J.R., 2000, Stratigraphic sections and equivalent uranium (eU), Meade Peak Phosphatic Shale Member of Permian Phosphoria Formation, east-central part of Rasmussen Ridge, Caribou County, Idaho: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 99-20-C, with text.

Tysdal, R.G., Herring, J.R., Grauch, R.I., Desborough, G.A., and Johnson, E.A., 2000, Stratigraphic sections and equivalent uranium (eU), Meade Peak Phosphatic Shale Member of Permian Phosphoria Formation, Sage Creek area of Webster Range, Caribou County, Idaho: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 99-20-D, with text.

Mineralogy

Desborough, G.A., Tysdal, R.G., Knudsen, A.C., Grauch, R.I., Herring, J.R., and Brownfield, I., 2001, Bulk mineralogy, micromineralogy, and authigenic minerals in the Meade Peak Phosphatic Shale Member of the Phosphoria Formation, southeastern Idaho: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 01-004, 20 p.

Knudsen, A.C., and Gunter, M.E., 1999, Mineralogy of the Phosphoria deposit, southeast Idaho [abstract]: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Rocky Mountain Section, April 1999.

Knudsen, A.C., Gunter, M.E., and Herring, J.R., 2000, Preliminary mineralogical characterization of weathered and less-weathered strata of the Meade Peak Phosphatic Shale Member of the Permian Phosphoria Formation: Measured sections A and B, central part of Rasmussen Ridge, Caribou County, Idaho: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 00-116, 74 p.

Geoenvironmental

Herring, J.R. and Amacher, M.C., 2001, Chemical composition of plants growing on the Wooley Valley phosphate miner waste pile and on similar rocks in nearby Dairy syncline, Caribou County, southeast Idaho: U.S. Geological Survey Open File Report 01-0025, 47 p.

Herring, J.R., Castle, C.J.,Brown, Z.A., and Briggs, P.H., 2001, Chemical composition of deployed and indigenous aquatic bryophytes in a seep flowing from a phosphate miner waste pile and in the associated Angus Creek Drainage, Caribou County, southeast Idaho: U.S. Geological Survey Open File Report 01-0026, 20 p.

Lamothe, P.J. and Herring, J.R., 2000, Selenium and other trace elements in air samples collected near the Wooley Valley phosphate miner waste pile, Angus Creek and Little Long Valley, Caribou County, Idaho: U.S. Geological Survey Open File Report 01-514, 14 p.

Piper, D. Z., Skorupa, J.P., Presser, T.S., Hardy, M.A., Hamilton, S.J., Huebner, M., and Gulbrandsen, R.A., 2000, The Phosphoria Formation at the Hot Springs Mine in southeast Idaho: a source of selenium and other trace elements to surface water, ground water, vegetation, and biota: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 00-050, 34 p.

Stillings, L.L., and Amacher, M.C., 2000, Selenium transport through a wetland, Caribou National Forest, southeast Idaho [abstract]: Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, Reno, Nevada, November, 2000, A-191.

Western Phosphate Field ­ Geology, History, Resources and Modeling

Evans, J., 2000, Structure of Permian Phosphoria Formation in Meade Thrust Plate of Western Phosphate Field [abstract]: Northwest Mining Association 106th Annual Meeting, USGS Open Industry Briefing, December 4, 2000.

Lee, W.H., 2001, A history of phosphate mining in southeastern Idaho: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 00-425, 242 p. (published as a CD)

Moyle, P.M., Jasinski, S.M., Mars, J.C., and project staff, 1999, Geoenvironmental research and resource assessment in the Western U.S. Phosphate Field - current status and preliminary findings [poster]: 35th Forum on the Geology of Industrial Minerals, Industrial Minerals of the Intermountain West, Salt Lake City, Utah, May 2-7, 1999.

Moyle, P.R., and project staff, 1999, Geologic and Geoenvironmental Studies of the Western Phosphate Field [abstract]: Northwest Mining Association 105th Annual Meeting, USGS Open Industry Briefing, Tuesday, November 30, 1999, p. 4.

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