June 2020
Volume 72    Issue 6

Hydrogeologic characterization and mining impact analysis of a low-yield, fractured granite

Day, Michael; Kos, Paul; Brinton, Scott


Quantitative hydrogeologic characterization of fractured rock is challenging because fracture systems are convoluted and difficult to characterize discretely. For large-scale water resource impact analyses, it may be more appropriate to use a watershed water balance approach and analyze fractured systems in terms of “bulk” hydraulic parameters over a large enough scale (hundreds of meters), so that the fractured media may be evaluated as “equivalent” porous media [1]. This is a common investigative methodology for mountain watersheds in fractured bedrock terrain because it does not rely on discrete flow paths but instead evaluates inputs to (recharge) and outputs from (discharge) the ground-water system [2,3]. This paper describes the use of this methodology to perform a practical and cost-effective hydrogeologic characterization and mining impact analysis for a proposed granite quarry in a mountain watershed. The key conclusions of the study guided the mine planning that was designed to minimize impacts to the fractured granite hydrogeologic system and preserve recharge to downgradient sedimentary aquifers.


Full-text paper:
Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2020) 37:355–374, https://doi.org/10.1007/s42461-019-00172-x


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