Date of Award

Spring 2008

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Chemistry & Physics

First Advisor

Kyle Strode

Second Advisor

Dawn Bregel

Third Advisor

Murphy Fox

Abstract

The objective of this research was to determine if variability exists in the spatial distribution of arsenic, lead, iron, zinc, copper, and cadmium in the surface water of Alta Mine Creek, near Corbin, Montana. Alta Mine Creek originated from flooded tunnels seeping through a suspected adit. The arsenic and heavy metal contamination was produced due to acid mine drainage of the water percolating through the adit in conjunction with deposition of eroded of tailings material. One hundred thirty-one water samples were collected at varied distances for the total 1701 meters of the creek during the early summer of 2007. ICP multi-element detection recorded metal concentrations in the samples. Each element displayed its trend of spatial distribution, although each was different from the next. The average pH level of the samples was 3.07. Metal attenuation occurred spatially for As, Pb, Fe, Zn, Cd. Copper concentration trends were intensified spatially. Effects of mobility, solubility and reactivity of the metal, as well as acidity of the aqueous environment are factors of spatial distribution of arsenic and heavy metals in surface waters at this site.

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