Winner of the 2012 John C. Frye Memorial Award (for more information about the Frye Award please click here)
This report, Natural Acid Rock Drainage Associated with Hydrothermally Altered Terrane in Colorado, examines the water quality and geology of several areas in Colorado exhibiting acid rock drainage (ARD) that is not caused by mining, but by nature. These areas are characterized by hydrothermally altered host rocks, with mineralogy that naturally "degrades" the water. Often, areas with natural ARD overlap mining districts, where mining-related ARD (also known as acid mine drainage) also occurs.
The information contained in this report will be of interest to professionals in several disciplines. Environmental professionals will be interested in the abundant water quality data available and the downstream effects of the identified natural ARD Areas. Economic geologist will be interested in the geologic and hydrothermal alteration mapping of the natural ARD areas, but will also gain general knowledge of the attendant background, or baseline, water quality conditions. Aquatic biologists will find this information useful as it relates to natural limitations on aquatic habitat.
Because of the interdisciplinary nature of this study, some readers may be unfamiliar with certain technical aspects of the report, expecially related to geologic and hydrothermal alteration mapping. A short glossary is provided to aid the reader's understanding.
John T. Neubert, Jeffrey P. Kurtz, Dana J. Bove, and Matthew A. Sares