USGS: Uranium Levels in Grand Canyon Spring Not Linked to Nearby Mine

Jan 27, 2017

A new study from the U.S. Geological Survey shows uranium in Pigeon Spring, north of the Grand Canyon, is likely not related to a nearby mine. The research is part of a larger effort to understand the impacts of uranium mining in the region.

Pigeon Spring
Credit Donald Bills, USGS

Kimberly Beisner, lead author of the study, tested the chemistry of the water in Pigeon Spring, and found it did not match the waste material at a nearby inactive mine. In addition, she says, “the water in the area is moving toward the northwest and Pigeon Spring is located due east of Pigeon Mine. So there’s likely a natural source contributing the elevated uranium to Pigeon Spring.”

Pigeon Spring contains at least four times as much uranium as any other spring in the area. The levels have increased since the first data were gathered in the eighties. 

Beisner says scientists need to study these springs to inform land management decisions. The Grand Canyon region is currently under a 20-year ban of new uranium mines.