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Scientific Investigations Report 2008–5140

Hydrologic Investigations Concerning Lead Mining Issues in Southeastern Missouri

Edited by Michael J. Kleeschulte

Contributions by Cheryl M. Seeger1 , Michael J. Kleeschulte2 , Lopaka Lee2, Gary W. Krizanich2, Suzanne R. Femmer2, and John G. Schumacher2

1Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Division of Geology and Land Survey. 2 U.S. Geological Survey.
Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (20 MB)


Good stewardship of our Nation's natural resources demands that the extraction of exploitable, minable ore deposits be conducted in harmony with the protection of the environment, a dilemma faced by many land and water management agencies in the Nation’s mining areas. As ore is mined, milled, and sent to the smelter, it leaves footprints where it has been in the form of residual trace metals. Often these footprints become remnants that can be detrimental to other natural resources. This emphasizes the importance of understanding the earth's complex physical and biological processes and their interactions at increasingly smaller scales because subtle changes in one component can substantially affect others. Understanding these changes and resulting effects requires an integrated, multidisciplinary scientific approach.

As ore reserves are depleted in one area, additional exploitable deposits are required to replace them, and at times these new deposits are discovered in previously unmined areas. Informed decisions concerning resource management in these new, proposed mining areas require an understanding of the potential consequences of the planned mining actions. This understanding is usually based on knowledge that has been accumulated from studying previously mined areas with similar geohydrologic and biologic conditions. If the two areas experience similar mining practices, the information should be transferable.

Lead and zinc mining along the Viburnum Trend Subdistrict of southeastern Missouri has occurred for more than 40 years. Additional potentially exploitable deposits have been discovered 30 miles to the south, within the Mark Twain National Forest. It is anticipated that the observation of current (2008) geohydrologic conditions in the Viburnum Trend can provide insight to land managers that will help reasonably anticipate the potential mining effects should additional mining occur in the exploration area.

The purpose of this report is to present a compilation of previously unpublished information that was collected as part of a larger multidisciplinary study of lead mining issues in southeastern Missouri. The report resulted from the application of a multidisciplinary approach to investigate current hydrologic and biologic conditions in streams of the Viburnum Trend and the exploration area in the Mark Twain National Forest.

Chapter 1. History of Mining in the Southeast Missouri Lead District and Description of Mine Processes, Regulatory Controls, Environmental Effects, and Mine Facilities in the Viburnum Trend Subdistrict (6.6 MB pdf) by Cheryl M. Seeger

Chapter 2. Seepage Runs on Streams Draining the Viburnum Trend Subdistrict, Southeastern Missouri, August 2003–October 2006 (1.2 MB pdf) by Michael J. Kleeschulte

Chapter 3. Distribution of Mining-Related Trace Elements and Sulfide-Mineral Occurrence in Streambed Sediment of the Viburnum Trend Subdistrict and Non-Mining Areas, Southeastern Missouri, 1992–2002 (1.5 MB pdf) by Lopaka Lee

Chapter 4. Spatial and Temporal Patterns of Trace-Element Deposition in Bed Sediment from Clearwater Lake, Southeastern Missouri, 2002 (4.4 MB pdf) by Gary W. Krizanich

Chapter 5. National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program Black River Synoptic Study, Southeastern Missouri, 1993 and 1995 (855 kB pdf) by Suzanne R. Femmer

Chapter 6. Water Quality of the Viburnum Trend Subdistrict, Exploration Area, and Strother Creek, Southeastern Missouri, 1964–2006 (1.6 MB pdf) by Michael J. Kleeschulte

Chapter 7. Water-Quality Trends and Effects of Lead and Zinc Mining on Upper Logan Creek and Blue Spring, Southeastern Missouri, 1925–2006 (2.9 MB pdf) by John G. Schumacher

Posted January 14, 2009

For additional information contact:
Director, USGS Missouri Water Science Center
1400 Independence Road
Rolla, MO 65401
(573) 308–3667

Or visit the Missouri Water Science Center Web site at:

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

Kleeschulte, M.J., ed., 2008, Hydrologic investigations concerning lead mining issues in southeastern Missouri: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2008–5140, 238 p.

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