Paper No. 92-4
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM-5:30 PM
THE USE OF FLUORIDE AS A NATURAL TRACER IN WATER, SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS, SILVERTON, COLORADO
BOVE, Dana J., U.S. Geol Survey, Box 25046, MS 973, Denver, CO 80225, dbove@usgs.gov, WALTON-DAY, Katherine, U.S. Geol Survey, Box 25045 MS 415, Federal Center, Denver, CO 80225, and KIMBALL, Briant A., U.S. Geol Survey, 2329 W Orton Cir, West Valley City, UT 84119

A combination of traditional geologic mapping, alteration-type mapping, and geochemical analysis of water samples indicates a relationship between geologic and hydrologic features that may be used to better understand the provenance and evolution of the water. Investigations conducted within the Silverton caldera, in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado indicates that veins containing fluorite, huebnerite, and elevated molybdenum concentrations are associated with the emplacement of high silica rhyolites and with mineralizing events that produce waters containing elevated concentrations of fluoride along with potassium and beryllium. This unique aqueous geochemical signature can be used to relate water chemistry to key geologic features and mineralized source areas. Two examples that illustrate this relationship are (1) surface-water samples containing elevated fluoride concentrations (greater than 2 milligrams per liter) that closely bracket the extent of several small high silica rhyolite intrusions: (2) water samples containing elevated concentrations of fluoride (greater than 2 milligrams per liter) that spatially relate to mines or areas that contain late-stage fluorite/huebnerite veins. In two additional cases, the existence of high fluoride concentrations in water can be used to (1) infer interaction of the water with mine waste derived from systems known to contain the fluorite/huebnerite association; and (2) relate changes in water quality over time at a high elevation mine tunnel to plugging of a lower elevation mine tunnel and the subsequent rise of the water table into mineralized areas containing fluorite/huebnerite veining. Thus, the unique geochemical signature of the water produced from fluorite veins indicates the location of high-silica rhyolites, mines, and mine waste containing the veins. Existence of high fluoride concentrations along with potassium and beryllium in water in combination with other geologic evidence may be used to better understand the provenance of the water.

2002 Denver Annual Meeting (October 27-30, 2002)
Session No. 92
Integrated Studies of the Effects of Abandoned Mines on the Environment (Posters)
Colorado Convention Center: Exhibit Hall
1:30 PM-5:30 PM, Monday, October 28, 2002
 

© Copyright 2002 The Geological Society of America (GSA), all rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted to the author(s) of this abstract to reproduce and distribute it freely, for noncommercial purposes. Permission is hereby granted to any individual scientist to download a single copy of this electronic file and reproduce up to 20 paper copies for noncommercial purposes advancing science and education, including classroom use, providing all reproductions include the complete content shown here, including the author information. All other forms of reproduction and/or transmittal are prohibited without written permission from GSA Copyright Permissions.