Author Keywords

ion chromatography, atomic absorption spectroscopy, inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry, water quality sampling


The major ions of Coal Creek near Cedar City, in southwest Utah, were measured to determine if there were any differences in ion concentrations in July of 2014 as compared with spring measurements of 2012 and 2013. Past analyses have shown higher ion concentrations in lower regions of Coal Creek despite the apparent lack of water input. This research is aimed to better characterize these abrupt increases in concentration and determine if these trends varied when samples were acquired in the summer vs. in the spring when sample acquisition has occurred in the past. Environmental water samples were collected at evenly spaced locations in Coal Creek from State Route 14 Mile Marker 7 westward to where the creek intersects with Main Street in Cedar City. Ion concentrations were determined in water samples collected every other day for 3 consecutive weeks using Ion Chromatography (IC) and Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AA). The spatially intensive sampling revealed two previously unknown low volume springs that are highly concentrated in the major ions and discharge into the creek. Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) was used to characterize trace metal concentrations within the water tributaries, in addition to IC to determine bulk anion content in the creek. The high ion concentrations of springs correlated well with known geologic features near the creek, such as faulted gypsum layers creating springs as well as evaporate deposits, both of which explain the doubling of ion concentrations seen in the examined section of Coal Creek.



Digital Object Identifier (DOI)