Title

Origin of Shallow Ground Water in an Alluvial Aquifer as Determined by Isotopic and Chemical Procedures

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

9-2002

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-6584.2002.tb02540.x

Abstract

In this study, we identify the origin of shallow ground water that supports regionally unique plant and wildlife habitats in a riparian and reservoir-fringe system using isotopic and chemical procedures. This study was conducted where Little Stony Creek flows into East Park Reservoir on the east front of the Coast Range, northern California. Little Stony Creek water, Hyphus Creek water, Franciscan Complex regional ground water, Great Valley Group regional ground water, and local shallow ground water were collected during wet and dry seasons and were analyzed for deuterium, oxygen-18, temperature, pH, redox potential, conductivity, and major cation and anion concentrations. Turnover in the local flow system is rapid indicating that local shallow ground water is dependent on recent recharge. Local shallow ground water is recharged primarily by Little Stony Creek water and Franciscan Complex ground water. In the wet season, Little Stony Creek is the more prominent source of local shallow ground water, and the ratio of Little Stony Creek water to Franciscan Complex ground water decreases with distance from the channel. In the dry season, Franciscan Complex ground water is the more prominent source of local shallow ground water, and the ratio of Little Stony Creek water to Franciscan Complex ground water decreases with distance down the valley. Franciscan Complex ground water discharges to local shallow ground water throughout the year, primarily because the local flow system is a regional low that lies perpendicular to the Franciscan Complex ground water flowpath. Little Stony Creek is a more prominent source of ground water in the wet season than in the dry season because Little Stony Creek flows continuously through the alluvial reach in the wet season and intermittently through the alluvial reach in the dry season. Extensive ground water withdrawals from the Franciscan Complex flow system could reduce the amount of water available to the local flow system, particularly during the dry season, and could substantially reduce the geographic extent of the regionally unique plant and wildlife habitats.

Citation / Publisher Attribution

Groundwater, v. 40, issue 5, p. 552-563

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