• Annual report of research progress

      MIRL (University of Alaska Mineral Industry Research Laboratory, 1965)
      Continuous research is the key to problem solutions and also to new developments in winning minerals from any environment, be it the land, the air, or the sea. Strong research programs yield both present and future benefits and are part of any vigorous, dynamic development. In Alaska, new mineral deposits must be searched for; marginal and submarginal deposits must be reviewed in terms of sophisticated methods of mining, benefication and extraction; and greater utilization must be developed for Alaska's industrial minerals, fuels, and off-shore mineral deposits. Continuous research, directed toward solving problems of present mineral production and uses, yields a technology which will solve future problems, and is essential if a vigorous mineral industry is to continue to play its basic role in Alaska's growing economy. Since mineral resources are of limited value without human resources, the Mineral Industry Research Laboratory is also dedicated to the development of Alaska's young men and women for careers in the mineral industry. The Staff MIRL
    • Annual report of research progress

      MIRL (1967)
      This year the Mineral Industry Research Laboratory has concentrated its efforts on projects relating to the more complete utilization of Alaska's mineral resources. This report briefly describes the projects that have been undertaken. These are broad in scope including topics such as mineral economics, exploration, mining, mineral beneficiation, beach and ocean mining, use of coal resources, resource evaluation, and market research analysis. Studies have been undertaken which investigate problems or topics in nearly all areas of the state, including Southeastern Alaska, Anchorage area, Northern Alaska and the Fairbanks area. In the future the MIRL Annual Report will be presented on a fiscal basis. To bridge the gap this year, an addendum to this report will be prepared in the Spring. Staff of the MIRL University of Alaska
    • Annual report of research progress

      MIRL (1964)
      Research that will lead to the utilization of Alaska's mineral resources and hence create new wealth must be 1::ontinued at an increased rate in the future if a strong mineral industry is to be developed and maintained. Current investment in minerals research is a judicious practice that will pay dividends to the State in the future. The Engineering Council for Professional Development, in their 1964 report which continued the accreditation of the engineering curri1:: ula at the University of Alaska, emphasized this concept when they stated: ''Regardless of the mining industry's present size, the State clearly needs a mining center in its State University not only for teachi} 1g but also for research and for service to prDspectors and mine operators." The Mineral Industry Research Laboratory is dedicated to those objectives of research, instruction and service which will help build the mineral economy of Alaska. Staff of the Mineral Industry Research Laboratory University of Alaska
    • Annual report of research progress

      MIRL (University of Alaska Mineral Industry Research Laboratory, 1970)
    • Applicability of siberian placer mining technology to Alaska

      Skudrzyk, F.J.; Barker, J.C.; Walsh, D.E.; MacDonald, Rocky (University of Alaska Mineral Industry Research Laboratory, 1991)
      The result of Perestroyka and Glasnost has been an awakening of potential for cooperation between East and West. Nowhere has that been better demonstrated than between Alaska and Magadan Province, USSR. This report summarizes a one year effort financed by ASTF, with participation from several technical organizations, to establish contacts with the Siberian placer mining industry. The purpose of the project was to provide initial assessment of the Soviet technology for placer mining in permafrost. A ten day trip to Magadan province by an ASTF team and a similar length visit to Alaska by the Soviet mining group representing the All Union Scientific and Research Institute of Gold and Rare Metals, (VNII-I), Magadan are described. The report also reviews translated data on mining in permafrost and describes surface and underground placer mining technology developed by the Soviets. The report also lists relevant publications on Soviet mining research and state of the art Soviet mining technology and expertise.
    • Application of Artificial Recharge Technology for Managing the Water Resources - Anchorage, Alaska

      Guymon, Gary L. (University of Alaska, Institute of Water Resources, 1972-06)
      The purpose of this report is to explore the usefulness of artificial recharge in Alaska where there are significant known water supply problems, specifically Anchorage, Alaska. More importantly, however, this report is intended as a vehicle for updating what is known about artificial recharge and for making this information available to water resources agencies and water supply planners in Alaska. The report is not intended to be an original scientific research but is a synthesis of new knowledge developed by the writer and others within the last half-decade. This report concentrates primarily on artificial recharge by off-stream basins in an effort to narrow what is a rather broad field. The concepts discussed under this restricted heading, however, are generally applicable to other recharge methods such as on-stream artificial recharge. Artificial recharge by basins is defined for purposes of this report as the practice of ponding water in constructed off-stream ponds with the explicit intention of allowing water to infiltrate into the underlying aquifer.
    • Application of hydrocyclones for recovery of fine gold from placer material

      Rao, P.D.; Wolff, E.N.; Maneval, D.R. (University of Alaska Mineral Industry Research Laboratory, 1982)
      Alaska and other gold areas have seen a sharp resurgence of placer mining in the last few years. Mines using sluice boxes usually recover gold down to 100 mesh, but recovery of gold finer than this size is a function of particle shape factor, sluice box design and operating parameters. It is felt that a concentrating device is needed to recover gold finer than 100 mesh that may not be recoverable in a sluice box. The device should be capable of processing a large volume of water and solids discharged from the sluice-box. Compound water cyclones, successfully used in the coal processing industry, seem to offer solutions. A system using these devices could recover a concentrate which would be one twenty fifth the size of the original solids in a two stage process. It is not intended to produce a finished product with cyclones, but to reduce bulk so that the reduced concentrate, free of slimes, could further be treated by flotation, gravity methods, or cyanidation to isolate the gold. This report addresses only the application of hydrocyclones for concentrating gold from placer material.
    • Application of hydrocyclones for the treatment of wastewater in gold placer mining

      Lin, H.K. (University of Alaska Mineral Industry Research Laboratory, 1980)
      This is a report on experimental application of hydrocyclones for the wastewater treatment in placer mining, with emphasis on their use in combination with a kind of large molecular weight flocculant. The simultaneous flocculating and clarifying of placer mining effluents was tested and evaluated.
    • Application of palynological techniques for correlation of coal seams in the Lower Lignite Creek area, Nenana Coal Field

      McFarlane, R., Sanders, R., and Rao, P.D. (University of Alaska Mineral Industry Research Laboratory, 1980-03)
      This study concerns spores and pollen in the coals of the lower Lignite Creek area in the Nenana Coal Field, which is operated by Usibelli Mining Company. The seams studied are part of the Suntrana Formation which contains a large portion of the coal reserves of Nenana coal. These coals are mid-Miocene in age and are separated from each other by cyclic sandstone, clay and silt deposits, which reflect alternating periods of coal forming swamps and depositing streams. A preliminary study of the mega and micro botanical fossils of this area was made in 1969 by Wolfe and Leopold (Wahrhaftig et al, 1969). Palynological investigation was done on 26 samples of the Suntrana Formation and evidence from this and fossil leaves indicate that the formation should be placed in the Seldovian stage.
    • Application of portable delayed neutron activation analysis equipment in the evaluation of gold deposits

      Sims, J.M. (University of Alaska Mineral Industry Research Laboratory, 1980-03)
      The attributes of a gold analysis system which could act as a panacea for the needs of the explorationist and the miner alike would include: i) The capability of being used as a qualitative as well as a quantitative tool yielding accurate results in respect of large samples. ii) The capability of generating results on site either in the field or within a prospect or mine. iii) An identifiable cost effectiveness in relation to other methods. iv) The capability of being housed in an equipment package which combines ruggedness, portability and reliability with operational options which permit measurements to be made on outcrops, mine faces, borehole cores as well as direct in-situ down-the hole determinations. The portable x-ray fluorescence gold analyser is on the threshold of meeting all the criteria cited above. Since the system is non-destructive in so far as the sample is concerned check assays employing conventional techniques can be run on a small percentage of the sample population. This report by its very nature is a state of the art review which sets out to describe the current instrument package, the principles by which it functions, its performance compared with detailed chip channel sampling and then suggests how the system may evolve in terms of its application to the investigation of hard-rock and placer deposits.
    • Application of the Finite-Element Method for Simulation of Surface Water Transport Problems

      Guymon, Gary L. (University of Alaska, Institute of Water Resources, 1972-06)
    • Application of wicking fabric to reduce damage in Alaskan pavements

      Presler, Wendy A.; Zhang, Xiong; Liu, Juanyu; Shur, Yuri; Connor, Billy (2016-05)
      Beaver Slide is located near kilometer 177.8 (mile 110.5) on the Dalton Highway. The road is sloped downhill when heading north. The road gradient is approximately 11%, and the road prism is on a side hill. Each year, soft spots usually appear in the pavement structure in late April and remain all summer. These soft spots have been called “frost boils”. The “frost boils” have resulted in extremely unsafe driving conditions and frequent accident occurrences. Conventional repair methods have not worked. A newly developed geosynthetic wicking fabric was installed in the road structure in August 2010. The fabric has a high specific surface area (consequently high wettability and high capillary action) and high directional permittivity. Test results over the initial two year period proved the effectiveness of the wicking fabric to mitigate “frost boils” and the subsequent road softening issue. Data collected during the past four years were analyzed to evaluate the long-term performance of the wicking fabric. A scanning electron microscope (SEM) was used to explore the interaction between the wicking fabric and in situ soils, and to determine the condition of the fabric five years after installation.
    • Applications of trend surface analysis and geologic model building to mineralized districts in Alaska

      Heiner, L.E.; Wolff, E.N. (University of Alaska Mineral Industry Research Laboratory, 1967)
      The Mineral Industry Research Laboratory, University of Alaska, has investigated the application of computers and statistics to mineral deposits in Alaska. Existing programs have been adapted and new ones written for the computers available at the University. The methods tested are trend surface analysis and geologic model making. An existing coeffecient of association program was converted to Fortran IV , but was not applied to an Alaskan problem. A trend surface is a mathematically describable surface that most closely approximates a surface representing observed data. In geologic model making, regression analysis is used to determine what geologic features are significant as ore controls. Coefficient of association compares samples to each other on the basis of a variable being present or absent. Trend surfaces were computed for dips and s t r i k e s of geologic features ( v e i n s , f a u l t s , bedrock) for Southeastern Alaska, the Chichagof district , and the Hyder district . Results for the f i r s t two are presented as maps. Trend surfaces and residual maps were prepared for geochemical data from the Slana district, Alaska. A mineral occurrence model was made for a portion of the Craig Quadrangle, and potential values were computed for c e l l s in the area. Appraisals of potential values by five geologists are compared with those of the model. An IBM 1620 multiple regression program is included.
    • Approximate bayesian computation for probabilistic decline curve analysis in unconventional reservoirs

      Paryani, Mohit; Ahmadi, Mohabbat; Hanks, Catherine; Awoleke, Obadare (2015-12)
      Predicting the production rate and ultimate production of shale resource plays is critical in order to determine if development is economical. In the absence of production from the Shublik Shale, Alaska, Arps' decline model and other newly proposed decline models were used to analyze production data from oil producing wells in the Eagle Ford Shale, Texas. It was found that shales violated assumptions used in Arps' model for conventional hydrocarbon accumulations. Newly proposed models fit the past production data to varying degrees, with the Logistic Growth Analysis (LGA) and Power Law Exponential (PLE) models making the most conservative predictions and those of Duong's model falling in between LGA and PLE. Using a regression coefficient cutoff of 95%, we see that the LGA model fits the production data (both rate and cumulative) from 81 of the 100 wells analyzed. Arps' hyperbolic and the LGA equation provided the most optimistic and pessimistic reserve estimates, respectively. The second part of this study investigates how the choice of residual function affects the estimation of model parameters and consequent remaining well life and reserves. Results suggest that using logarithmic rate residuals maximized the likelihood of Arps' equation having bounded estimates of reserves. We saw that approximately 75% of the well histories that were fitted using the logarithmic rate residual had hyperbolic b-values < 1, as opposed to 40% using the least squares error function--an 87.5% increase. This is because they allow the most recent production data to be weighted more heavily, thereby ensuring that the fitted parameters reflect the current flow regime in the drainage area of the wells. In the third part of this work, in order to quantify the uncertainty associated with Decline Curve Analysis (DCA) models, a methodology was developed that integrated DCA models with an approximate Bayesian probabilistic method based on rejection sampling. The proposed Bayesian model was tested by history matching the simulation results with the observed production data of 100 gas wells from the Barnett Shale and 21 oil wells from the Eagle Ford Shale. For example, in Karnes County, the ABC P90-P50-P10 average interval per well was 170-184-204 MSTB, while the true average cumulative production per well was 183 MSTB. The ABC methodology coupled with any deterministic DCA model will help in long-term planning of operations necessary for optimal/effective field development.
    • Arsenic in the Water, Soil Bedrock, and Plants of the Ester Dome Area of Alaska

      Hawkins, Daniel B.; Forbes, Robert B.; Hok, Charlotte I.; Dinkel, Donald (University of Alaska, Institute of Water Resources, 1982-06)
      Concentrations of arsenic as large as 10 ppm (200 times the safe limit for drinking water) occur in the groundwater of a mineralized residential area near Fairbanks. Bedrock of the area contains 750 ppm As, primarily as arsenopyrite and scorodite. The oxygen-poor groundwater is enriched in As(III) and ferrous iron while the surface waters are iron free and contain less than 50 ppb As(V). Arsenic is removed from the water by coprecipitation with ferric hydroxide. Some iron-rich stream sediments contain as much as 1,400 ppm arsenic. The distribution of arsenic in the groundwater is controlled by the distribution of arsenic in the bedrock. The arsenic content of the B soil horizon over mineralized veins is about 150 ppm, while that over barren rock is 30 ppm. The vegetation over the veins is not significantly enriched in arsenic. Lettuce, radishes and tomatoes grown with arsenic-rich water (5 ppm) contain 16, 8 and 1 ppm As, respectively; these amounts are significantly greater than plants not treated with arsenic. Preliminary studies by state and federal health agencies show no detrimental effects on the health of persons drinking these arsenic-rich waters.
    • Assessing the fate of crude oil in Arctic coastline sediments: effect of exposure time and sediment structure

      Iverson, Anna Christine; Schiewer, Silke; Perkins, Robert; Barnes, David (2015-08)
      The research presented in this thesis will allow for a better understanding of how crude oil interacts with the shoreline. Offshore oil production along Alaska's arctic coast is expected to increase in coming years. While this is likely to create large economic benefits for the state, crude oil spills may occur. An oil spill may reach the shoreline, where it could create adverse short and long-term ecological effects. Mass transfer processes, affected by sediment characteristics, play an important role in determining the fate of crude oil along shorelines. Crude oil viscosity and diffusion are strongly temperature dependent. Nutrients, commonly added to stimulate bioremediation, may be washed out with waves and tides. It is therefore necessary to study how factors such as the beach matrix, nutrient addition and temperature affect hydrocarbon distribution. Laboratory experiments were implemented to help better understand how the soil composition and tidal action will affect the oil's movement through the shoreline sediments. Experiments were conducted for two different sediment types (sandy-gravel versus pebble) obtained from Barrow, AK and two different temperatures (20° and 3° Celsius). A microcosm study using a PVC pipe set-up was used to simulate the transport of oil through the sediment profile. Data obtained from this study show that the amount of pooling and its location was dependent on sediment structure. In sandy gravel sediment, Total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) persisted 6 inches below the surface, indicating pooling does occur. In pebble sediment, TPH persisted at the top and bottom of the column, but only for the first few days, indicating the pooling would not be a long term problem. Both sediments had higher CO₂ production at higher temperatures, with the highest respiration, i.e. more biodegradation, found in sandy-gravel. While CO₂ releases were slightly higher in sediments with the addition of fertilizer, overall the application of fertilizer did not have a significant impact on the fate of crude oil in shoreline sediments.
    • Assessing the potential of Salix alaxensis for the rhizoremediation of diesel contaminated soil

      Starsman, Jessica; Leigh, Mary Beth; Schiewer, Silke; Schnabel, William (2016-08)
      Alaska has over 280 remote communities that rely on diesel as their main source of heat; as a result, there have been multiple diesel spills across the state. Research has shown that plants are able to assist in the degradation of diesel through rhizoremediation, relying on the interaction between microorganisms, plant roots, and other components of the soil environment. Greater attention is now being given to the potential role of secondary plant compounds released during fine root turnover and the stimulatory effects they may have on the rhizoremediation process. For this study the native plant species, Salix alaxensis (felt leaf willow) was chosen. Fine root turnover in the sub-Arctic was mimicked through a microcosm study performed with sub-Arctic soil contaminated with weathered and fresh diesel, incubated at 4 °C and 20 °C. The effect of adding crushed willow roots was compared against addition of pure salicylic acid, a secondary plant compound found in the salicaceae family, and/or addition of fertilizer. Results showed that the addition of crushed fine willow roots with or without fertilizer increased diesel loss. Overall, greater loss and higher respiration occurred at 20 °C. The addition of salicylic acid with or without fertilizer increased soil toxicity. Toxicity may have been the result of observed phenol production and/or fungal growth. Findings show promise for the use of Salix alaxensis for the rhizoremediation of diesel contaminated soils in the sub-Arctic.
    • Assessment of contaminant concentrations and transport pathways in rural Alaska communities' solid waste and wastewater sites

      Mutter, Edda Andrea; Schnabel, William; Barnes, David; Duddleston, Khrys; Duffy, Lawrence; Hagedorn, Birgit (2014-05)
      Waste management practices currently employed in many rural Alaska communities are potentially contributing to human and environmental health impacts, and this problem may be exacerbated with the anticipated warming climate. For rural communities, factors that contribute to insufficient waste management practices include climate and environmental conditions, limitation of federal and state capital funding for construction, and the continuing financial burden associated with providing adequate operations and maintenance. As a response, federal regulatory exemptions are granted for construction and design of solid waste sites and limited state regulations are in place for wastewater discharge criteria. Due to the absence of proper site assessment and monitoring, very little is known about the fate and transport of point source pollutants arising from these wastewater and solid waste sites. Moreover, these fate and transport processes may be susceptible to changes resulting from human activity or a warming climate. Thus, this knowledge gap associated with waste-related pollutants in rural Alaska could obscure potential threats to human and environmental health by concealing impacts to freshwater systems. This research was intended to achieve a better understanding of rural Alaska waste leachate compositions by evaluating contaminant prevalence and diversity, quantifying contaminant concentration levels, and evaluating their potential migration into nearby freshwater systems. Over the course of three years, waste sites at five rural Alaska communities were sampled and tested for heavy metals, organic constituents, and microbial indicator organisms. The purpose of the analysis was to evaluate the impact of waste sites on soil, surface, and subsurface waters in the vicinity of the sites. The resulting findings are assembled into three chapters describing 1) the assessment of heavy metal leachate in rural Alaska solid waste sites, 2) the identification of new emerging organic pollutants in rural Alaska waste sites, and 3) the partitioning and transport behavior of pathogen indicator organisms in cold regions. The research outcome of E.coli and Enterococcus sp. were observed in waste impacted water and soil samples, heavy metal migration into nearby freshwaters, and pharmaceuticals, phthalates, and benzotriazole in waste impacted water samples. The research findings highlight the need to apply state regulations to remove potentially hazardous components from rural Alaska wastewater and municipal solid waste streams. Additionally, there is a need to establish effective solid waste and wastewater leachate monitoring and assessment strategies for active and closed rural Alaska waste sites.
    • Assessment of formation damage from drilling fluids dynamic filtration in gas hydrate reservoirs of the North Slope of Alaska

      Kerkar, Prasad B.; Patil, Shirish L.; Chukwu, Godwin A.; Dandekar, Abhijit Y.; Khataniar, Santanu (2005-08)
      Gas hydrates in the Alaska North Slope, with a potential of 590 TCF gas-in-place near existing infrastructures of Prudhoe Bay, Kuparuk River and Milne Point Units, have sparked interest among unconventional energy experts. Drilling through gas hydrates has always been critical as a source of heat into the formation, leading to dissociation of hydrates. Moreover, the recent drive toward open hole completions and highly deviated or horizontal wells have emphasized the need for evaluation of drilling or completion fluids suitability from a perspective of formation damage. A significant decrease in well productivity near the well-bore can occur due to the invasion of fine solids from drilling fluids, forming external and internal filter cake under dynamic conditions. An experimental setup for the evaluation of formation damage at in-situ conditions was designed. The dynamic filtration experiments were conducted with Berea sandstone cores. The absolute permeability was measured both before and after the drilling fluid circulation. The drilling fluid type, its flow rate, and shear rate, effective particle size, additive concentration, and amount of overbalance were found to influence drilling mud leak-off volume and the post mud circulation permeability.
    • An assessment of suspended sediment transport in Arctic Alaskan rivers

      Lamb, Erica K.; Toniolo, Horacio; Schnabel, William; Kane, Douglas (2013-05)
      Provided here is an initial assessment of suspended sediment transport in several rivers on the North Slope of Alaska. This study was divided into two parts: the Umiat project, which involved the Chandler, Anaktuvuk and Itkillik Rivers, and the NPR-A study, which considered Prince, Seabee and Fish Creeks, as well as a brief look at the lkpikpuk River, Otuk Creek, Judy Creek and the Ublutuoch River. Methods used included depth-integrated suspended sediment samples, grab samples, automatic pump-style samplers, discharge measurements, bed sediment grain size analysis and the inclusion of a variety of meteorological measurements from other projects. With slightly less than two years of data collection from May 2011 to September 2012, an initial analysis was completed. Suspended sediment rating curves developed for the Anaktuvuk and Chandler Rivers over the two-year study period revealed a strong correlation between suspended sediment concentration (SSC) and discharge. The most data was collected for the Anaktuvuk and Chandler Rivers; on these rivers, suspended sediment discharge was also analyzed, showing that over 90% of suspended sediment transport occurred during the spring melt period in 2011. Spring melt was not measured in 2012, so analysis was only completed for 2011.