In the early 1980's, renewed interest in the geothermal potential of the Long Valley caldera, California, highlighted the need to balance the benefits of energy development with the established recreational activities of the area. The Long Valley Hydrologic Advisory Committee, formed in 1987, instituted a monitoring program to collect data during the early stages of resource utilization to evaluate potential effects on the hydrologic system. Early data show declines in streamflow, spring flow, and ground-water levels caused by 6 years of below-average precipitation. Springs in the Hot Creek State Fish Hatchery area discharge water that is a mixture of nonthermal and hydrothermal components. Possible sources of nonthermal water have been identified by comparing deuterium concentrations in streams and springs. The equivalent amount of undiluted thermal water discharged from the springs was calculated on the basis of boron and chloride concentrations. Quantifying the thermal and nonthermal fractions of the total flow may allow researchers to assess changes in flow volume or temperature of the springs caused by groundwater or geothermal development.
Additional publication details
Monitoring the hydrologic system for potential effects of geothermal and ground-water development in the Long Valley caldera, Mono County, California, U.S.A