A hypothesis for the geochemical anomaly in the North Creek Watershed /
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A regional geochemical reconnaissance by bottom stream sediment sampling, has delineated an area of high metal content in the north central sector of the North Creek Watershed. Development of a geochemical model, relating to the relative chemical concentrations derived from the chemical analyses of bottom sediments, suspended sediments, stream waters and well waters collected from the north central sector, was designed to discover the source of the anomaly. Samples of each type of material were analysed by the A.R.L. Direct Reading Multi-element Emission Spectrograph Q.A. 137 for elements: Na, K, Ca, Sr, Si, As, Pb, Zn, Cd, Ni, Ti, Ag, Mo, Be, Fe, AI, Mn, Cu, Cr, P and Y. Anomalous results led to the discovery of a spring, the waters of which carried high concentrations of Zn, Cd, Pb, As, Ni, Ti, Ag, Sr and Si. In addition, the spring waters had high concentrations of Na, Ca, Mg, 504 , alkalinity, N03' and low concentrations of K, Cl and NH3. Increased specific conductivity (up to 2500 ~mho/cm.) was noted in the spring waters as well as increased calculated total dissolved solids (up to 2047 mg/l) and increased ionic strength (up to 0.06). On the other hand, decreases were noted in water temperature (8°C), pH (pH 7.2) and Eh (+.154 volts). Piezometer nests were installed in the anomalous north central sector of the watershed. In accordance with the slope of the piezometric surface from wells cased down to the till/bedrock interface, groundwater flow is directed from the recharge area (northwest of the anomaly) towards the artesian spring via the highly fractured dolostone aquifer of the Upper Eramosa Member. The bedrock aquifer is confined by the overlying Halton till and the underlying Lower Eramosa Member (Vinemount Shale). The oxidation of sphalerite and galena and the dissolution of gypsum, celestite, calcite, and dolomite within the Eramosa Member, contributed its highly, dissolved constituents to the circulating groundwaters, the age of which is greater than 20 years as determined by tritium dating. Groundwater is assumed to flow along the Vinemount Shale and discharge as an artesian spring where the shale unit becomes discontinuous. The anomaly is located on a topographic low where bedrock is close to the surface. Thermodynamic evaluation of the major ion speciation from the anomalous spring and surface waters, showed gypsum to be supersaturated in these spring waters. Downstream from the spring, the loss of carbon dioxide from the spring waters resulted in the supersaturation with respect to calcite, aragonite, magnesite and dolomite. This corresponded with increases in Eh (+.304 volts) and pH (pH 8.5) in the anomalous surface waters. In conclusion, the interaction of groundwaters within the highly, mineralized carbonate source (Eramosa Member) resulted in the characteristic Ca*Mg*HC03*S04 spring water at the anomalous site, which appeared to be the principle effect upon controlling the anomalous surface water chemistry.