Western Mineral Resources

U.S. Geological Survey
Open-File Report 2008-1179
version 1.0

Mercury Release from the Rathburn Mine, Petray Mine, and Bear Valley Saline Springs, Colusa County, California 2004–2006

By Aaron J. Slowey and James J. Rytuba


Looking eastward toward Bear Valley (from figure 11).

This report summarizes data obtained from field sampling of mine tailings and waste rock at the Rathburn and Petray Mines that was initiated in July 17, 2001 and water and sediment in regional springs and tributaries that drain from the mine area into Bear Creek on December 14, 2004 and February 16 and May 27, 2005. Although it was initially assumed that the mines were the cause of elevated levels of monomethyl Hg measured by the Central Regional Water Quality Control Board in tributaries near their confluence with Bear Creek (Foe and others, unpublished results), it became apparent during this study that ground water springs were also potential sources of Hg. In addition to sampling of springs in May 2005, saline ground water seepage along an unnamed fault on the west side of Bear Valley was sampled on December 13-14, 2006. We did not sample water or sediment in Bear Creek itself during this study. Our results permit a preliminary assessment of mining and natural sources of Hg and associated chemical constituents that could elevate levels of monomethyl Hg in Bear Creek.

Download this report as a 54-page PDF file. This file contains only links to figures 2A, 2B, and 2C which are oversized sheets also given below (of2008-1179.pdf; 6.4 MB).

Download figures 2A, 2B, and 2C for this report as a 3-page, 11" x 17" PDF file (of2008-1179_fig2.pdf; 13.8 MB).

Go to the Table 3 folder where the data are available in .xls, .csv, and .txt formats (table3 folder; three files that total 80 kB).

Download GIS data (shapefiles and DBF files; 15 kB)
Metadata (text file)

For questions about the content of this report, contact Aaron Slowey or Jim Rytuba

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