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Non-invasive flow path characterization in a mining-impacted wetland

December 1, 2015

Time-lapse electrical resistivity (ER) was used to capture the dilution of a seasonal pulse of acid mine drainage (AMD) contamination in the subsurface of a wetland downgradient of the abandoned Pennsylvania mine workings in central Colorado. Data were collected monthly from mid-July to late October of 2013, with an additional dataset collected in June of 2014. Inversion of the ER data shows the development through time of multiple resistive anomalies in the subsurface, which corroborating data suggest are driven by changes in total dissolved solids (TDS) localized in preferential flow pathways. Sensitivity analyses on a synthetic model of the site suggest that the anomalies would need to be at least several meters in diameter to be adequately resolved by the inversions. The existence of preferential flow paths would have a critical impact on the extent of attenuation mechanisms at the site, and their further characterization could be used to parameterize reactive transport models in developing quantitative predictions of remediation strategies.

Publication Year 2015
Title Non-invasive flow path characterization in a mining-impacted wetland
DOI 10.1016/j.jconhyd.2015.10.002
Authors James Bethune, Jackie Randell, Robert L. Runkel, Kamini Singha
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Contaminant Hydrology
Index ID 70160657
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Colorado Water Science Center; Toxic Substances Hydrology Program