Preprint Article Version 2 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Uranium in Waters of The Southern Colorado Plateau: Implications for the Navajo Nation

Version 1 : Received: 29 July 2022 / Approved: 3 August 2022 / Online: 3 August 2022 (07:46:55 CEST)
Version 2 : Received: 22 September 2022 / Approved: 23 September 2022 / Online: 23 September 2022 (03:38:21 CEST)

How to cite: Webster, K.D.; Locey, K.J.; Pelletier, J.D.; Credo, J.; Ingram, J.C.; Klein, B.A. Uranium in Waters of The Southern Colorado Plateau: Implications for the Navajo Nation. Preprints 2022, 2022080077 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202208.0077.v2). Webster, K.D.; Locey, K.J.; Pelletier, J.D.; Credo, J.; Ingram, J.C.; Klein, B.A. Uranium in Waters of The Southern Colorado Plateau: Implications for the Navajo Nation. Preprints 2022, 2022080077 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202208.0077.v2).

Abstract

Uranium (U) is enriched in the waters of the southern Colorado Plateau, including waters of the Navajo Nation. The region has naturally occurring U in rocks and a history of U mining which may increase U concentrations in waters. Despite prior research into the concentration of U in the waters of the Navajo Nation, a framework has not been established to understand the variation of U in the region’s groundwater. To this end, we examined data from six studies to establish where and why U is likely to be enriched in waters of the southern Colorado Plateau. We show that U concentrations are related to the presence of U-rich rock bodies, elevation, and local aquifer salinity. Additionally, we show that U concentrations in waters downstream from abandoned U mines are higher than in waters that are not downstream from mines, and that the area around mines has an elevated U concentration relative to background U concentrations. Our work can act as a guide for local water withdrawal, regional water remediation and mitigation efforts, and provides a means for understanding the geographical patterns of U concentration in waters of the southern Colorado Plateau.

Keywords

Uranium; Groundwater; Colorado Plateau; Navajo Nation; Chinle Formation

Subject

EARTH SCIENCES, Environmental Sciences

Comments (1)

Comment 1
Received: 23 September 2022
Commenter: Kevin D. Webster
Commenter's Conflict of Interests: Author
Comment: This paper includes new authors, and new analyses, and significant edits to the text.
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