Water-quality appraisal, Mammoth Creek and Hot Creek, Mono County, California

Water-Resources Investigations Report 84-4060




A late summer reconnaissance in 1981 and a spring high-flow sampling in 1982 of Mammoth Creek and Hot Creek, located in the Mammoth crest area of the Sierra Nevada, indicated that mineralization, eutrophication, sedimentation, and limited areas of fecal contamination were occurring. Mineralization, indicated by a downstream increase in dissolved-solids concentration, was due primarily to geothermal springs that gradually decreased in the percentage of calcium, increased in the percentage of magnesium and sodium, and caused fluctuating, but overall increasing percentage of fluoride, sulfate, and chloride. Resulting water quality in Mammoth Creek was similar to that of the springs forming Hot Creek. Eutrophication was observed in Twin Lakes and the reach of Hot Creek below the fish hatchery. Twin Lakes had floating mats of algae and a high dissolved-oxygen saturation of 147 percent at a pH of 9.2. Hot Creek had excessive aquatic vascular plant and algae growth, dissolved-oxygen saturations ranging from 65 to 200 percent, algal growth potential of 30 milligrams per liter, and nitrates and phosphates of 0.44 and 0.157 milligrams per liter. Sedimentation was noted in observations of bed-material composition showing the presence of fine material beginning at Sherwin Creek Road. Fecal contamination was indicated by fecal coliform counts of 250 colonies per 100 milliliters and fecal streptococcal counts greater than 1,000 colonies per 100 milliliters. (USGS)

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USGS Numbered Series
Water-quality appraisal, Mammoth Creek and Hot Creek, Mono County, California
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
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U.S. Geological Survey,
vi, 50 p. :ill., map ;28 cm.