Regional patterns in ground- and surface-water chemistry of the southern Sacramento Valley in California were evaluated using publicly available geochemical data from the US Geological Survey's National Water Information System (NWIS). Within the boundaries of the study area, more than 2300 ground-water analyses and more than 20,000 surface-water analyses were available. Ground-waters from the west side of the Sacramento Valley contain greater concentrations of Na, Ca, Mg, B, Cl and SO4, while the east-side ground-waters contain greater concentrations of silica and K. These differences result from variations in surface-water chemistry as well as from chemical reactions between water and aquifer materials. Sediments that fill the Sacramento Valley were derived from highlands to the west (the Coast Ranges) and east (the Sierra Nevada Mountains), the former having an oceanic provenance and the latter continental. These geologic differences are at least in part responsible for the observed patterns in ground-water chemistry. Thermal springs that are common along the west side of the Sacramento Valley appear to have an effect on surface-water chemistry, which in turn may affect the ground-water chemistry.
Additional publication details
Regional variations in water quality and relationships to soil and bedrock weathering in the southern Sacramento Valley, California, USA