Eastern Mineral and Environmental Resources Science Center

  Eastern Mineral and Environmental Resources  /  Projects /  Contact Us
Development of Mineral Environmental Assessment Methodologies
Task 2 - Development of Mineral Environmental Assessment Techniques at the Watershed Scale

Groundwater Assessment Methods

• Project Overview
• Development of Geoenvironmental Model Assessment Tools
• Development of Mineral Environmental Assessment Techniques at the Watershed Scale
• Mineral Environmetnal Assessment at Regional Scales
• Development of Assessment Methods in Support of USGS Integrated Science
• Products
• Project Contacts

Subtask Contact: Andrew Manning

Subtask Objectives


Subtask Objectives

In order to predict the potential impact of a mineral deposit or a mine site on the environmental health of a watershed, it is necessary to consider the manner in which metals are transported through the watershed. Groundwater typically composes a large fraction of stream flow, and therefore can be a principal pathway by which metals are introduced to the stream ecosystem. Because metals can be liberated by water-rock interactions within the ground-water system (particularly in the shallow seasonally saturated zone), the groundwater may exert a primary control upon both the rate and distribution of metals released to the near-surface environment in a watershed. A successful model of the potential watershed-scale environmental consequences of mining specific mineral deposits therefore probably must have a ground-water component.

A host of model types could conceivably be used to relate groundwater parameters (and factors controlling them) to stream metal loads. These range from detailed, site-specific numerical flow and transport models (based on first principals of physics and chemistry) to simple statistical "black-box" models based on emperical relationships. The central focus of this subtask's work will therefore be to evaluate these different models types and determine which type might be most appropriate as a plug-in for the transport module in the watershed-scale MEA toolbox. The most feasible model to use probably will be some form of a statistical model. However, no such models currently exist that specifically relate watershed ground-water characteristics to surface-water metal concentrations. Work on this subtask consisted of developing such a statistical model.

Ultimately, the objective of this subtaskwas to develop a plug-in (or series of plug-ins)for the transport module in the watershed-scale MEA toolbox that helps predict surface water metal concentrations given the characterisitics of the ground-water system in the watershed.


Task is no longer active.

Return to top of this page | Main Task | Next Subtask | Task List

Skip menu and go to footer Mineral Resources Program National Minerals Information Geology, Minerals, Energy and Geophysics Alaska Central Mineral and Environmental Resources Crustal Geophysics and Geochemistry Spatial Data

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

USAGov logoU.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
URL: https://minerals.usgs.gov/east/mea/task2.1.html
Page Contact Information: Eastern Minerals Contact
Last Modified: 18 January 2018