Two multiple-well monitoring sites were drilled in the Calaveras County portion of the Eastern San Joaquin Groundwater Subbasin, about 100 miles east of San Francisco, California, during December 2009 and January 2010. Site 3N/9E-12G1-4 was drilled to a depth of 503 feet below land surface (bls), and four wells were installed. Site 4N/9E-36A1-3 was drilled to a depth of 400 feet bls, and three wells were installed. Lithologic and geophysical data collected during test drilling indicated the presence of volcanic sands interspersed with lahar deposits that are characteristic of the Mehrten Formation to about 420 feet bls at site 12G1-4, and the presence of volcanic sands interspersed with clay that are characteristic of the Valley Springs Formation at site 36A1-3. In January 2010, water levels at site 12G1-4 ranged from 120 to 127 feet bls (the shallowest well at the site, 12G4, screened from 90 to 110 feet bls, was dry). Between May and November 2010, water levels declined as much as 22 feet in wells 12G1 and 12G2, the deepest wells at this site, and declined about 6 feet in shallower well 12G3. During this same period, water-levels declined less than 8 feet in the three wells at site 36A1-3. Water levels in all monitoring wells recovered to near-May-2010 levels by mid-spring 2011. Dissolved solids in the six sampled monitoring wells (residue on evaporation) ranged from 154 to 239 milligrams per liter (mg/L); arsenic concentrations ranged from 1.8 to 13 micrograms per liter (μg/L), and were greater than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for arsenic of 10 μg/L in well 36A2. The oxygen-18 (δ18O) and deuterium (δD) stable-isotopic composition of water from the six monitoring wells and from nine domestic and public-supply wells sampled as part of this study ranged from -6.7 to -8.2 per mil (δ18O), and -50 to -60 per mil (δD), and was consistent with values expected for water recharged in the lower altitudes of the Sierra Nevada. Well 36A3, the shallowest well at site 36A1-3, was the only well that contained measurable tritium - indicative of water recharged after 1952. Carbon-14 activities from the six monitoring wells ranged from 76.0 to 18.9 percent modern carbon, and groundwater ages (time since recharge), not corrected for chemical reactions, ranged from 2,200 to 13,400 years before present.
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USGS Numbered Series
Test drilling and data collection in the Calaveras County portion of the Eastern San Joaquin Groundwater Subbasin, California, December 2009-June 2011