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Open-File Report 2006–1171

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Electrical Resistivity Surveys in Prospect Gulch, San Juan County, Colorado

By Robert R. McDougal

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Prospect Gulch is a major source of naturally occurring and mining related metals to Cement Creek, a tributary of the upper Animas River in southwestern Colorado. Efforts to improve water quality in the watershed have focused on Prospect Gulch because many of its abandoned mines and are located on federal lands. Information on sources and pathways of metals, and related ground-water flow, will be useful to help prioritize and develop remediation strategies. It has been shown that the occurrence of sulfate, aluminum, iron, zinc and other metals associated with historical mining and the natural weathering of pyritic rock is substantial. In this study, direct current resistivity surveys were conducted to determine the subsurface resistivity distribution and to identify faults and fractures that may act as ground-water conduits or barriers to flow. Five lines of resistivity data were collected in the vicinity of Prospect Gulch, and cross-section profiles were constructed from the field data using a two-dimensional inversion algorithm. The conductive anomalies in the profiles are most likely caused by wet or saturated rocks and sediments, clay rich deposits, or high TDS ground water. Resistive anomalies are likely bedrock, dry surficial and sub-surface deposits, or deposits of ferricrete.

Version 1.0

Posted June 2006

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