Seismic Evaluation of Shallow-Depth Structure, Faulting, and Groundwater Variations Across the Dos Palmas Preserve, Riverside County, California

Open-File Report 2019-1130
By: , and 



Dos Palmas Preserve is a Colorado Desert oasis and wetland in Riverside County, California, located near the base of the Orocopia Mountains and northeast of the Salton Sea. The original source of water for the oasis was artesian springs that developed at the base of the Orocopia Mountains, but more abundant water supplies were later provided to Dos Palmas Preserve when the Coachella Canal was built and water seeped from unlined parts of the canal. As a result of this abundant water supply in a desert setting, Dos Palmas Preserve, managed by the Bureau of Land Management, is now a wildlife preserve that became home to multiple plants, fowl, insects, rodents, reptiles, and bats, including some endangered and threatened species. More recently, sections of the Coachella Canal have been lined, resulting in a reduction of water seepage and threatening the sustainability of parts of Dos Palmas Preserve. Faults usually act as barriers to groundwater flow and Dos Palmas Preserve is only a few kilometers from the active trace of the San Andreas Fault, where splays of the fault trend through the area. Additionally, numerous closely spaced faults that have been mapped at the surface northwest of Dos Palmas Preserve are believed to extend southward into the Dos Palmas Preserve, where they are covered by alluvium. Thus, evaluation of the subsurface lithology and structure is needed to determine how the current allocation of water from the Coachella Canal affects various parts of Dos Palmas Preserve.

To better understand the distribution of the shallow lithology, faulting, and groundwater in Dos Palmas Preserve, the U.S. Geological Survey, in collaboration with the Bureau of Land Management, conducted a seismic survey across the northern part of Dos Palmas Preserve. The seismic survey was designed to “map” the upper part of the aquifer system and to more precisely locate faults that may affect groundwater flow in Dos Palmas Preserve. In this report, we present seismic velocity and reflection images of the shallow subsurface and relate those images to interpretative structures and stratigraphy that may affect groundwater at Dos Palmas Preserve.

Suggested Citation

Catchings, R.D., Goldman, M.R., Chan, J.H., Sickler, R.R., Rymer, M.J., and Criley, C.J., 2020, Seismic evaluation of shallow-depth structure, faulting, and groundwater variations across the Dos Palmas Preserve, Riverside County, California: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2019–1130, 21 p., 10.3133/ofr20191130.

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Seismic Data Acquisition
  • Seismic Data Processing and Modeling
  • Seismic Models and Images
  • Discussion and Interpretations
  • Summary
  • Data Availability
  • References Cited
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Seismic evaluation of shallow-depth structure, faulting, and groundwater variations across the Dos Palmas Preserve, Riverside County, California
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2019-1130
DOI 10.3133/ofr20191130
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Earthquake Science Center
Description Report: vi, 21 p.; Data Release
Country United States
State California
County Riverside County
Online Only (Y/N) Y
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