High-resolution seismic reflection/refraction imaging from Interstate 10 to Cherry Valley Boulevard, Cherry Valley, Riverside County, California: implications for water resources and earthquake hazards

Open-File Report 99-320

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This report is the second of two reports on seismic imaging investigations conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) during the summers of 1997 and 1998 in the Cherry Valley area in California (Figure 1a). In the first report (Catchings et al., 1999), data and interpretations were presented for four seismic imaging profiles (CV-1, CV-2, CV-3, and CV-4) acquired during the summer of 1997 . In this report, we present data and interpretations for three additional profiles (CV-5, CV-6, and CV-7) acquired during the summer of 1998 and the combined seismic images for all seven profiles. This report addresses both groundwater resources and earthquake hazards in the San Gorgonio Pass area because the shallow (upper few hundred meters) subsurface stratigraphy and structure affect both issues. The cities of Cherry Valley and Beaumont are located approximately 130 km (~80 miles) east of Los Angeles, California along the southern alluvial fan of the San Bernardino Mountains (see Figure 1b). These cities are two of several small cities that are located within San Gorgonio Pass, a lower-lying area between the San Bernardino and the San Jacinto Mountains. Cherry Valley and Beaumont are desert cities with summer daytime temperatures often well above 100 o F. High water usage in the arid climate taxes the available groundwater supply in the region, increasing the need for efficient management of the groundwater resources. The USGS and the San Gorgonio Water District (SGWD) work cooperatively to evaluate the quantity and quality of groundwater supply in the San Gorgonio Pass region. To better manage the water supplies within the District during wet and dry periods, the SGWD sought to develop a groundwater recharge program, whereby, excess water would be stored in underground aquifers during wet periods (principally winter months) and retrieved during dry periods (principally summer months). The SGWD preferred a surface recharge approach because it could be less expensive than a recharging program based on injection wells. However, at an existing surface recharge site, surface recharge of the aquifer was limited by the presence of clayrich layers that impede the downward percolation of the surface water. In boreholes, these clay-rich layers were found to extend from the near surface to about 50 m depth. If practical, the SGWD desired to relocate the recharge ponds to another location within the Cherry Valley–Beaumont area. This required that sites be found where the clay-rich layers were absent. The SGWD elected to explore for such sites by employing a combination of drilling and seismic techniques. A number of near-surface faults have been suggested in the Cherry Valley-Beaumont area (Figure 1b). However, there may be additional unmapped faults that underlie the alluvial valley of San Gorgonio Pass. Because faults are known to act as barriers to lateral groundwater flow in alluvial groundwater systems, mapped and unmapped subsurface faults in the Cherry Valley-Beaumont area would likely influence groundwater flow and the lateral distribution of recharged water. These same faults may pose a significant hazard to the local desert communities and to greater areas of southern California due to the presence of lifelines (water, electrical, gas, transportation, etc.) that extend through San Gorgonio Pass to larger urban areas. The three principal goals of the seismic investigation presented in this report were to laterally map the subsurface stratigraphic horizons, locate faults that may act as barriers to groundwater flow, and measure velocities of shallow sediments that may give rise to amplified shaking during major earthquakes.

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Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
High-resolution seismic reflection/refraction imaging from Interstate 10 to Cherry Valley Boulevard, Cherry Valley, Riverside County, California: implications for water resources and earthquake hazards
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
Earthquake Science Center
33 p.
Number of Pages:
United States
Riverside County
Other Geospatial:
Cherry Valley