Date of Graduation

Spring 2022


Master of Natural and Applied Science in Geography, Geology, and Planning


Geography, Geology, and Planning

Committee Chair

Robert Pavlowsky


The Joplin subdistrict, within the Tri-State Mining District (TSMD), was a major producer of lead (Pb) and zinc (Zn) ore between the 1880s to 1920s. Metalliferous mining wastes are still stored in the channel deposits of local streams raising environmental and health concerns. This study quantifies the volume, sediment size, and metal concentrations in channel bed, bar, bench, and chute deposits to quantify the spatial variability of contaminated sediment storage in Turkey Creek (119 km2). Sample reaches (n=14) contained metal concentrations elevated above the Tri-State Mining District specific probable effects concentration at every site with mean concentrations in fine sediment (<2 >mm) ranging from 229 to 996 mg kg-1 Pb and 4,946 to 5,819 mg kg-1 Zn. Mean concentrations in powdered coarse sediments (2 – 16 mm) ranged from 60 to 86 mg kg-1 Pb and 1,660 to 2,488 mg kg-1 Zn. Metal contamination levels were typically highest in the fine sediment fraction with the greatest metal concentrations observed near mining impaired sites. Regression modeling using distance downstream estimated that 127,000 kg Pb and 2,160,000 kg Zn are stored within a 18.8 km main channel segment of Turkey Creek. Fine sediment represented only 19% of in-channel sediment but stored the greatest mass of metal for both Pb and Zn representing 61% and 52% of total metal storage, respectively. Bar deposits stored the most Pb (69%) and Zn (74%).Volumetric storage of contaminated sediment (m3/m channel length) was positively related to active channel width (R2 = 0.97), bankfull width (R2 = 0.96), distance downstream (R2 = 0.74), slope (R2 = 0.70), average bed depth (R2 = 0.68), and drainage area (R2 = 0.83). These geomorphic variables can be used to estimate the total sediment volume and mass as well as metal mass by reach for Turkey Creek. Metal concentrations and storage rates are still relatively high below remediated mine sites in the main channel and some tributaries.


mining contamination, Tri-State Mining District, sediment storage, metal storage, lead, zinc

Subject Categories

Environmental Health and Protection | Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment | Geochemistry | Geomorphology


© Max Quinn Hillermann

Open Access