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Open-File Report 2007–1020

Ground- and Surface-Water Chemistry of Handcart Gulch, Park County, Colorado, 2003–2006

By Philip L. Verplanck, Andrew H. Manning, Briant A. Kimball, R. Blaine McCleskey, Robert L. Runkel, Jonathan Saul Caine, Monique Adams, Pamela A. Gemery-Hill, and David L. Fey

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Open-File Report
2007-1020 PDF (789 kB)

As part of a multidisciplinary project to determine the processes that control ground-water chemistry and flow in mineralized alpine environments, ground- and surface-water samples from Handcart Gulch, Colorado were collected for analysis of inorganic solutes and water and dissolved sulfate stable isotopes in selected samples. The primary aim of this study was to document variations in ground-water chemistry in Handcart Gulch and to identify changes in water chemistry along the receiving stream of Handcart Gulch.

Water analyses are reported for ground-water samples collected from 12 wells in Handcart Gulch, Colorado. Samples were collected between August 2003 and October 2005. Water analyses for surface-water samples are reported for 50 samples collected from Handcart Gulch and its inflows during a low-flow tracer injection on August 6, 2003. In addition, water analyses are reported for three other Handcart Gulch stream samples collected in September 2005 and March 2006. Reported analyses include field parameters (pH, specific conductance, temperature, dissolved oxygen, and Eh), major and trace constituents, oxygen and hydrogen isotopic composition of water and oxygen and sulfur isotopic composition of dissolved sulfate.

Ground-water samples from this study are Ca-SO4 type and range in pH from 2.5 to 6.8. Most of the samples (75 percent) have pH values between 3.3 and 4.3. Surface water samples are also Ca-SO4 type and have a narrower range in pH (2.7–4.0). Ground- and surface-water samples vary from relatively dilute (specific conductance of 68 μS/cm) to concentrated (specific conductance of 2,000 μS/cm).

Version 1.0

Posted February 2008

Suggested citation:

Verplanck, P.L., Manning, A.H., Kimball, B.A., McCleskey, R.B., Runkel, R.L., Caine, J.S., Adams, Monique, Gemery-Hill, P.A., and Fey, D.L., 2008, Ground- and surface-water chemistry of Handcart Gulch, Park County, Colorado, 2003–2006: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2007–1020, 31 p.




Purpose and Scope

Physical Description of the Study Area


Climate and Vegetation



Sampling Sites

Water-Chemistry Sampling

Laboratory Methods

Quality Assurance and Quality Control

Water Chemistry

References Cited

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