Contamination and pollution

Introduction of harmful substances into the environment by human action or natural processes.
This category is also used for natural contaminants, pollution, effluent, and outfall.


Results listed by similarity [list alphabetically]
Impact of mine and natural sources of mercury on water, sediment, and biota in Harley Gulch adjacent to the Abbott-Turkey Run mine, Lake County, California

Detailed samples around these abandoned mines will help to determine how well site remediation efforts have worked to reduce the dangerous levels of mercury that come from both natural sources here as well as the abandoned mines.

Bedrock and soil geochemistry from Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota

Analyses to establish the background and baseline geochemistry for bedrock and soil in the region, and to determine terrestrial mercury sources and sinks in the park

Bedrock soil and lichen geochemistry from Isle Royale National Park, Michigan

Geochemical analyses conducted as part of a larger study of the Midcontinent Rift in the Lake Superior region.

Chemical data for rock, sediment, biological, precipitate, and water samples from abandoned copper mines in Prince William Sound, Alaska

Report containing tables of geochemical data

Determination of premining geochemical background and delineation of extent of sediment contamination in Blue Creek downstream from Midnite Mine, Stevens county, Washington

Geochemical and radionuclide analyses of surface samples and cores taken near the outflow of this old uranium mine.

Digital map of surficial geology, wetlands, and deepwater habitats, Coeur d'Alene river valley, Idaho

Details of materials and geologic environments in an area where a long history of mining has enriched stream sediments in silver, lead, zinc, arsenic, antimony and mercury, copper, cadmium, manganese, and iron.

Environmental impact of the Contact and Sonoma mercury mines on water, sediment, and biota in Anna Belcher and Little Sulphur Creek watersheds, Sonoma County, California

Data from field sampling of tailings, waste rock, sediment, and water at the mines, along with water, sediment, and biota in a pond and tributaries that drain from the mine area, to help assess the chemical hazards due to historic mining.

Environmental impact of the Helen, Research, and Chicago mercury mines on water, sediment, and biota in the Upper Dry Creek watershed, Lake County, California

Data from field sampling of tailings, waste rock, sediment, and water at the mines, along with water, sediment, and biota in a pond and tributaries that drain from the mine area, to help assess the chemical hazards due to historic mining.

Geochemical analyses of rock, sediment, and water from the region in and around the Tuba City landfill, Tuba City, Arizona

Regional samples of rock, sediment, leachates, and water were collected in and around the TCL site and analyzed for major and minor elements and radionuclides

Geochemical analysis of soils and sediments, Coeur d'Alene drainage basin, Idaho: Sampling, analytical methods, and results

Chemical composition of sediments and soils are of interest because of the potential for human and wildlife health impacts from high metal contents due to over 100 years of mining activity.

Geochemical data for stream-sediment, surface-water, rock, and vegetation samples from Red Mountain (Dry Creek), an unmined volcanogenic massive sulfide deposit in the Bonnifield district, Alaska Range, east-central Alaska

Geochemical data for stream sediment, surface-water, rock, precipitate, and vegetation samples from Red Mountain

Geochemical data from analyses of rock, sediment, water, and solid-phase leaching at the Tuba City open dump, Tuba City, Arizona

Study of sources and resulting transport of radionuclides and other dissolved constituents in the surrounding ground water.

Geochemical data from waters in Prospect Gulch, San Juan County, Colorado, that span pre- and post-Lark Mine remediation

Water samples near this abandoned mine were analyzed for specific conductance, pH, temperature, and dissolved oxygen with handheld field meters, and metals were analyzed using inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry.

Geologic and mineralogic controls on acid and metal-rich rock drainage in an alpine watershed, Handcard Gulch, Colorado

Mineralogical data on samples from the surface and from drill cores, with geological observations help to understand the hydrology and effects of geology on acid-rock drainage in a mineralized alpine watershed.

Geophysical, geochemical, mineralogical, and enivronmental data for rock samples collected in a mineralized volcanic environment, upper Animas River watershed, Colorado

Data for 90 rock samples collected from 2001 to 2007 for geophysical, geochemical, mineralogical, and environmental rock properties of acid neutralizing capacity and net acid production.

Ground geophysical study of the Buckeye Mine Tailings, Boulder watershed, Montana

Electromagnetic, resistivity, and magnetic surveys used to determine the extent of contamination in an abandoned mine area.

Hydrogeochemical investigations of historic mining districts, central western slope of Colorado, including influence on surface-water quality

Geochemical analysis of mine dumps, mill tailings, mine drainage, and surface waters indicate contamination from these historic mines is generally less than that asserted or suggested by some geochemical models

Integrated investigations of environmental effects of historical mining in the Animas River watershed, San Juan county, Colorado

Major assessment of the environmental effects of historical mining in the Animas River watershed with GIS data files, tables, and plates.

Integrated investigations of environmental effects of historical mining in the Basin and Boulder mining districts, Boulder River watershed, Jefferson County, Montana

Geological, geochemical, hydrologic, and biological observations combined with geographic framework data, supporting a multidisciplinary assessment of the impact of historic mining in this area.

Major- and trace-element concentrations in soils from northern California: Results from the Geochemical Landscapes project pilot study

Regional-scale geochemical survey designed to serve as a baseline for further analyses, and to understand effects of historical mining in the area.

Mercury geochemistry of gold placer tailings, sediments, bedrock, and waters in the lower Clear Creek area, Shasta County, California; report of investigations, 2001-2003

Total mercury and methylmercury measured in sediments, tailings, and water in an area where historical gold mining has occurred; proposed habitat restoration work may release some of the mercury that is currently buried there.

Miscellaneous geochemical data from waters in the Upper Animas River Watershed, Colorado

This report releases data for waters in which naturally occurring acid-rock drainage occurs but acid-mine drainage from historical mining continues to contribute dissolved metals further degrading preexisting water quality.

Net acid production, acid neutralizing capacity, and associated geophysical, mineralogical, and geochemical characteristics of Animas River watershed rocks near Silverton, Colorado

Geochemical analysis of rock samples focusing on characteristics relevant to mine cleanup discussions

Net acid production, acid neutralizing capacity, and associated mineralogical and geochemical characteristics of Animas River watershed igneous rocks near Silverton, Colorado

Chemical analysis of altered volcanic rocks to determine their potential for neutralization of acid-rock drainage. Includes magnetic susceptibility measurements as well.

Quality of water and sediment in streams affected by historical mining, and quality of mine tailings, in the Rio Grande/Río Bravo basin, Big Bend area of the United States and Mexico, August 2002

Geochemical data for stream water, sediments, and mine tailings in this area

Radon in soils of parts of Cameron, Hidalgo, and Willacy Counties, Texas

Analysis of soil samples in the Texas borderland area

Reconnaissance soil geochemistry at the Riverton Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action Site, Fremont County, Wyoming

The site, on the Wind River Indian Reservation, has Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapahoe tribes concerned about groundwater and soil contamination. This effort studies geochemical soil variation and compares concentrations with levels established by EPA

Relation of arsenic, iron, and manganese in ground water to aquifer type, bedrock lithogeochemistry, and land use in the New England coastal basins

Geochemical data for groundwater from a variety of geologic settings.

Review of samples of sediment, tailings, and waters adjacent to the Cactus Queen gold mine, Kern County, California

Mine tailings here have high levels of arsenic. Experiments conducted on these sediments indicate that the arsenic can be released into the environment and become hazardous through chemical processes that occur when fine sediment is ingested by animals.

Review of samples of tailings, soils and stream sediment adjacent to and downstream from the Ruth Mine, Inyo County, California

Detailed study of mine waste material and sediments from streams passing through it. Arsenic is the main contaminant of interest here.

Review of samples of water, sediment, tailings, and biota at the Little Bonanza mercury mine, San Luis Obispo County, California

Data from field sampling of mine tailings, wasterock, sediment, water, and biota at the mine in 2010. Results permit a preliminary assessment of the mining sources of Hg and associated chemicals that could produce elevated levels of monomethylmercury.

Spring runoff water-chemistry data from the Standard Mine and Elk Creek, Gunnison County, Colorado, 2010

Periodic sampling of water during the spring of 2010 was carried out to understand the range and timing of variation in pH and metal concentration, and help evaluate variation in water quality during spring runoff.

Surface-water hydrology and quality at the Pike Hill Superfund Site, Corinth, Vermont, October 2004 to December 2005

Synoptic water-quality and benthic macroinvertebrate sampling at 14 stream sites to characterize the quality of surface water in the watershed on a seasonal and spatial basis, as well as to assess the effects of wetlands on water quality.

Temporal Chemical Data for Sediment, Water, and Biological Samples from the Lava Cap Mine Superfund Site, Nevada County, California-2006-2008

This report is a compilation of water and sediment chemical data generated by the USGS study of indigenous, arsenic-sequestering microbial communities. A total of 9 synoptic sampling efforts conducted at specific sites are described.

Uranium in surface waters and sediments affected by historical mining in the Denver West 1:100,000 quadrangle, Colorado

Geochemical analysis of stream waters and sediments in mountainous areas immediately west of Denver, Colorado, to evaluate the concentration and distribution of uranium-bearing acid drainage originating from historical mines

Antimony

Antimony’s leading use is as a fire retardant in safety equipment and in household goods such as mattresses. The U.S. Government has considered antimony to be a critical mineral mainly because of its use in military applications.

Aquatic assessment of the Ely Copper Mine Superfund site, Vershire, Vermont

A wide variety of geochemical analyses show strong local impact on water quality in this area of historical copper mining.

Barite (Barium)

Barite (barium sulfate, BaSO4) is vital to the oil and gas industry because it is a key constituent of the mud used to drill oil and gas wells. Elemental barium is an additive in optical glass, ceramic glazes, and other products.

Beryllium

Beryllium is a mineral commodity that is used in a variety of industries to make products that are essential for the smooth functioning of a modern society.

Case study of the environmental signature of a recently abandoned, carbonate-hosted replacement deposit: The Clayton Mine, Idaho

Multi-element geochemical analysis of host rock, ore, mine waste, flotation-mill tailings, slag, stream sediments, creek and adit waters, and leachates of mine waste and mill tailings.

Characterization of Geologic Structures and Host Rock Properties Relevant to the Hydrogeology of the Standard Mine in Elk Basin, Gunnison County, Colorado

Geological and borehole geophysical data and observations collected to characterize the basin and its surface and groundwater flow systems with primary focus on the physical characteristics of the fault vein, related mine workings, and surrounding bedrock

Characterization of mine waste at the Elizabeth copper mine, Orange County, Vermont

Preliminary information about the concentration, spatial distribution and mineral hosting of metals and other elements in solid materials at the Elizabeth copper mine after 50 years (or more) of weathering and oxidation.

Chemical Composition of Samples Collected from Waste Rock Dumps and Other Mining-Related Features at Selected Phosphate Mines in Southeastern Idaho, Western Wyoming, and Northern Utah

Chemical analyses for 31 samples collected from various phosphate mine sites in southeastern Idaho (25), northern Utah (2), and western Wyoming (4)

Cobalt

Cobalt is a silvery gray metal that has diverse uses due to its ferromagnetism, hardness and wear-resistance when alloyed with other metals, low thermal and electrical conductivity, high melting point, multiple valences, and color effects with silica.

Concentrations and bioaccessibility of metals in vegetation and dust near a mining haul road, Cape Krusenstern National Monument, Alaska

Samples of surficial materials analyzed for aluminum, barium, cadmium, lead, and zinc concentrations.

Environmental characteristics of the abandoned Greenwood Mine area, Prince William Forest Park, Virginia; implications for mercury geochemistry

Water quality data for the area include pH, dissolved oxygen, alkalinity, total acid soluble and dissolved major and trace element concentrations for sites around the mine workings.

Environmental Considerations Related to Mining of Nonfuel Minerals

A key aspect of identifying and mitigating environmental risks of mining is understanding how they vary from one deposit type to another—a concept that forms the basis for geoenvironmental mineral-deposit models.

Fluorine

Fluorine compounds are essential in numerous chemical and manufacturing processes. Fluorspar is the commercial name for fluorite (isometric CaF2), which is the only fluorine mineral that is mined on a large scale.

Gallium

Gallium is a soft, silvery metallic element with an atomic number of 31 and the chemical symbol Ga. Gallium is used in a wide variety of products that have microelectronic components containing either gallium arsenide (GaAs) or gallium nitride (GaN).

Geochemical and mineralogical characterization of the abandoned Valzinco (lead-zinc) and Mitchell (gold) mine sites prior to reclamation, Spotsylvania County, Virginia

Geochemical data for all solid sample media, along with mineralogical data, and results of weathering experiments on Valzinco tailings and field experiments on sediment accumulation in Knights Branch.

Geochemical characterization of drainage prior to reclamation at the abandoned Valzinco mine, Spotsylvania County, Virginia

Geochemical analysis of water samples to provide a pre-reclamation assessment of seasonal variations of acid and metal concentrations in Knight's Branch help evaluate the reclamation project.

Geochemical characterization of mine waste at the Ely Copper Mine superfund site, Orange County, Vermont

An environmental impact study is done for the abandoned Ely copper mine. The extent of contamination is studyed along with the type and chemical composition of the mine waste piles.

Geochemical Characterization of Mine Waste, Mine Drainage, and Stream Sediments at the Pike Hill Copper Mine Superfund Site, Orange County, Vermont: U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Sampling procedures, analytical methodologies, and results to assess the potential for mine waste and drainage to have an adverse impact on aquatic ecosystems, on drinking- water supplies, and to human health

Geochemical data for core and bottom-sediment samples collected in 2007 from Grand Lake o' the Cherokees, northeast Oklahoma

In this area of historical lead-zinc mining activity, studies such as this help to assess the possibility of human exposure to cadmium and lead through eating fish.

Geochemical Results of Lysimeter Sampling at the Manning Canyon Repository in the Mercur Mining District, Utah

This report presents chemical characteristics of transient unsaturated-zone water collected by lysimeter from the Manning Canyon repository site in Utah. Data collected by U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Manageme

Geophysical Characterization of Subsurface Properties Relevant to the Hydrology of the Standard Mine in Elk Basin, Colorado

To help understand the hydrogeologic controls in the basin and how they affect surface and groundwater interactions with nearby mine workings, electrical resistivity profile, self–potential, and magnetic measurement data are provided herein.

Geophysical investigation of Red Devil mine using direct-current resistivity and electromagnetic induction, Red Devil, Alaska, August 2010

This large producer of mercury operated from 1933 to 1971. As part of remediation work, this survey used electromagnetic methods to study subsurface resistivity.

Geospatial database for regional environmental assessment of central Colorado

Study focusing on the effects of historical mining on Forest Service lands in this area.

Germanium and Indium

Germanium and indium are used in electronics devices, flat-panel display screens, light-emitting diodes, night vision devices, optical fiber, optical lens systems, and solar power arrays.

Graphite

Steelmaking and refractory applications in metallurgy use the largest amount of produced graphite; however, emerging technology uses in large-scale fuel cell, battery, and lightweight high-strength composites promise more uses.

Historical zinc smelting in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C., with estimates of atmospheric zinc emissions and other materials

Describes zinc smelting processes used in the mid-Atlantic states, including locations and photographs of the plants, along with statistics and discussion of environmental issues.

Hydrogeochemical investigation of the Standard Mine vicinity, upper Elk Creek basin, Colorado

Ground- and surface-water samples were collected in order to characterize the local ground-water flow system, determine metal concentrations in local ground water, and understand factors controlling the discharge of metal-rich waters from the mine.

Lead-rich sediments, Coeur d'Alene River valley, Idaho; Area, volume, tonnage, and lead content: Surface-sediment geochemical data

Tables containing locations and lead concentrations of 998 surface-sediment geochemical sample sites

Linking geology and health sciences to assess childhood lead poisoning from artisanal gold mining in Nigeria

Approximately 400 young children have died and thousands more are affected. This study clarifies lead sources and exposure pathways, identifies other toxicants of concern and people at risk, and examines potential for similar lead poisoning globally.

Lithium

Lithium, the lightest of all metals, is used in air treatment, batteries, ceramics, glass, metallurgy, pharmaceuticals, and polymers.

Manganese

Manganese is used to make steel, where it serves as a purifying agent in iron-ore refining and as an alloy.

Mercury release from the Rathburn Mine, Petray Mine, and Bear Valley saline springs, Colusa County, California 2004-2006

Summary of data obtained from field sampling of mine tailings and waste rock and water and sediment in regional springs and tributaries that drain from the mine area into Bear Creek. Ground-water springs are also potential sources of mercury here.

Niobium and Tantalum

Niobium and tantalum are found together in nature because they have similar physical and chemical properties. Niobium is used in high-strength steel alloys, while tantalum is used in electronic capacitors.

Occurrence and variability of mining-related lead and zinc in the Spring River flood plain and tributary flood plains, Cherokee County, Kansas, 2009--11

One hundred years of historical mining has resulted in substantial ongoing input of cadmium, lead, and zinc into the environment. This surficial-soil sampling and coring study provides information needed to support remediation efforts.

Online files for acid deposition sensitivity map

GIS data files Acid Deposition Sensitivity of the Southern Appalachian Assessment Area. Susceptibility to acid deposition from air pollution is categorized as low, medium, or high for each area.

Platinum-Group Elements

The platinum-group elements (PGEs)—platinum, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium, and osmium—are metals that have similar physical and chemical properties and tend to occur together in nature. PGEs are indispensable to many industrial applications.

Radionuclide data and calculations and loss-on-ignition, X-ray fluorescence, and ICP-AES data from cores in catchments of the Animas river, Colorado

Results from sediment cores collected during 1997-1999 oxbow lakes and beaver ponds to assess impact of historic mining and exposed mineral deposits on the quality of the water and the aquatic and riparian habitats.

Rare-Earth Elements

Because of their unusual physical and chemical properties, the REEs have diverse defense, energy, industrial, and military technology applications including glass, petroleum refining, automobiles, and magnets.

Rhenium

Rhenium is a rare metal that has an extremely high melting point and a heat-stable crystalline structure. It is used in high-temperature superalloys, to make turbine blades for jet aircraft engines and is a catalyst for petroleum refining.

Selected geochemical data for modeling near-surface processes in mineral systems

Data on a variety of mineral deposit types that have variable environmental effects when exposed at the ground surface by mining or natural processes.

Selenium

Selenium is a trace element in Earth's crust. Modern uses for selenium include energy-efficient windows that limit heat transfer and thin-film photovoltaic cells that convert solar energy into electricity.

Stream-Sediment Geochemistry in Mining-Impacted Drainages of the Yankee Fork of the Salmon River, Custer County, Idaho

Analysis of stream sediments to assess the geochemistry, in particular the mercury and selenium contents, of mining-impacted sediments in the study area

Tellurium

Tellurium is a rare element obtained as a byproduct of mining for other commodities whose main uses are in photovoltaic solar cells and as an additive to copper, lead, and steel alloys in various types of machinery.

Tin

Tin (Sn) is one of the first metals to be used by humans. Almost without exception, tin is used as an alloy. Its major uses today are for cans and containers, construction materials, transportation materials, and solder.

Titanium

Titanium colors paint, paper, plastic, rubber, and wallboard. Because of its strength and corrosion resistance, titanium metal and its alloys are used in the aerospace industry as well as for welding rod coatings, biological implants, and consumer goods.

Vanadium

Vanadium is used primarily in the production of steel alloys; as a catalyst for the chemical industry; in the making of ceramics, glasses, and pigments; and in vanadium redox-flow batteries (VRBs) for large-scale storage of electricity.

Weathering and transport of chromium and nickel from serpentinite in the Coast Range ophiolite to the Sacramento Valley, California, USA

Investigates Cr and Ni geochemistry providing insight into the mobility and bioaccessibility of these toxic trace elements throughout northern California and perhaps the origin of elevated dissolved Cr(VI) concentrations in the western Sacramento Valley

Whole rock geochemistry and grain-size analyses from sediment and rock near Tuba City Open Dump, Tuba City, Arizona

Chemical analysis of geological materials at this EPA Superfund site located on lands of the Hopi and Navajo nations, which may contain mine waste.

Whole-rock and sulfide-mineral geochemical data for samples from volcanogenic massive sulfide deposits of the Bonnifield district, east-central Alaska

The data consist of major- and trace-element whole-rock geochemical analyses and major- and trace-element analyses of sulfide minerals determined by electron microprobe and laser ablation–inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) techniques

Zirconium and Hafnium

Zirconium and hafnium are corrosion-resistant metals that are widely used in the chemical and nuclear industries. Most zirconium is consumed in the form of the main ore mineral zircon or as zirconium oxide or other zirconium chemicals.