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Geochemical modeling of water-rock interactions in mining environments

January 1, 1997

Geochemical modeling is a powerful tool for evaluating geochemical processes in mining environments. Properly constrained and judiciously applied, modeling can provide valuable insights into processes controlling the release, transport, and fate of contaminants in mine drainage. This chapter contains 1) an overview of geochemical modeling, 2) discussion of the types of models and computer programs used, 3) description of a procedure for screening water analyses for modeling input, and 4) examples of the application of modeling for interpreting geochemical processes in mining environments. Three general strategies in current use to interpret water-rock interactions are statistical analysis, “inverse” modeling, and “forward” modeling. Multivariate correlation analysis, factor analysis, cluster analysis, and other statistical techniques can group water-chemistry data into sets that may relate to hydrogeochemical processes (Drever, 1988; Puckett and Bricker, 1992). In the field of geochemical exploration, statistical analysis is used widely to treat large data sets of rock and sediment chemistry (e.g., Garrett, 1989). No physical or chemical principles are involved directly in these statistical treatments, hence they are not considered further in this chapter. Nevertheless, statistical analysis can be a useful tool in organizing complex geochemical data for interpretation.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1997
Title Geochemical modeling of water-rock interactions in mining environments
DOI 10.5382/Rev.06.14
Authors Charles N. Alpers, D. Kirk Nordstrom
Publication Type Book Chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Series Title
Series Number
Index ID 70199185
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization California Water Science Center