FT-00-02 Geology, Water Quality, and Avalanche Hazards of the Ouray – Silverton Area, Southwest Colorado: Field Trip Guidebook


This field trip guide was part of the October 2000 Earth Science Week. PDF download. FT-00-02D

From the Introduction:

The purpose of this one-day field trip is to look at the geology, water quality issues, and the avalanche hazards along Highway 550 from Ouray to Silverton. We will focus on the water quality issues that affect the upper Animas watershed. The local geology will be discussed in order to understand the context of heavy metal loading in streams. We will look at some historic mines in the area and discuss the metal loads that they contribute to the watershed. We will view remediation that has been accomplished to help clean up the watershed.

We will also focus on the avalanche problem near Red Mountain Pass, which is one of the most hazardous stretches of highways for avalanches in the country. We will discuss past avalanche accidents, current avalanche forecasting, avalanche dynamics, and avalanche mitigation.