The isotopic ratios of H, O and C in water within the Long Valley caldera, California reflect input from sources external to the hydrothermal reservoir. A decrease in ??D in precipitation of 0.5??? km-1, from west to east across Long Valley, is caused by the introduction of less fractionated marine moisture through a low elevation embayment in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. Relative to seasonal fluctuations in precipitation (-158 to -35??.), ??D ranges in hot and cold surface and groundwaters are much less variable (-135 to -105??.). Only winter and spring moisture, reflecting higher precipitation rates with lighter isotopic signatures, recharge the hydrological system. The hydrothermal fluids are mixtures of isotopically heavy recharge (??D = - 115???, ??18O = - 15???) derived from the Mammoth embayment, and isotopically lighter cold water (??D = -135???, ??18O = -18???). This cold water is not representative of current local recharge. The ??13C values for dissolved carbon in hot water are significantly heavier (- 7 to - 3???) than in cold water (-18 to -10???) denoting a separate hydrothermal origin. These ??13C values overlie the range generally attributed to magmatic degassing of CO2. However, ??13C values of metamorphosed Paleozoic basement carbonates surrounding Long Valley fall in a similar range, indicating that hydrothermal decarbonization reactions are a probable source of CO2. The ??13C and ??18O values of secondary travertime and vein calcite indicate respective fractionation with CO2 and H2O at temperatures approximating current hydrothermal conditions. ?? 1990.
Additional publication details
Sources and fractionation processes influencing the isotopic distribution of H, O and C in the Long Valley hydrothermal system, California, U.S.A.