Physical, chemical, and isotopic data for samples from the Anderson Springs area, Lake County, California, 1998-1999

Open-File Report 99-585

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Anderson Springs is located about 90 miles (145 kilometers) north of San Francisco, California, in the southwestern part of Lake County. The area was first developed in the late 1800s as a health resort, which was active until the 1930s. In the rugged hills to the south of the resort were four small mercury mines of the eastern Mayacmas quicksilver district. About 1,260 flasks of mercury were produced from these mines between 1909 and 1943. In the 1970s, the high-elevation areas surrounding Anderson Springs became part of The Geysers geothermal field. Today, several electric powerplants are located on the ridges above Anderson Springs, utilizing steam produced from a 240°C vapor-dominated reservoir.

The primary purpose of this report is to provide physical, chemical, and isotopic data on samples collected in the Anderson Springs area during 1998 and 1999, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. In July 1998, drainage from the Schwartz adit of the abandoned Anderson mercury mine increased substantially over a 2-day period, transporting a slurry of water and precipitates down a tributary and into Anderson Creek. In August 1998, J.J. Rytuba and coworkers sampled the Schwartz adit drainage and water from the Anderson Springs Hot Spring for base metal and methylmercury analysis. They measured a maximum temperature (Tm) of 85°C in the Hot Spring. Published records show that the temperature of the Anderson Springs Hot Spring (main spring) was 63°C in 1889, 42–52°C from 1974 through 1991, and 77°C in March 1995. To investigate possible changes in thermal spring activity and to collect additional samples for geochemical analysis, C.J. Janik and coworkers returned to the area in September and December 1998. They determined that a cluster of springs adjacent to the main spring had Tm=98°C, and they observed that a new area of boiling vents and small fumaroles (Tm=99.3°C) had formed in an adjacent gully about 20 meters to the north of the main spring.

During August–October 1999, several field trips were conducted in the vicinity of Anderson Springs to continue monitoring and sampling the thermal manifestations. The new fumarolic area had increased in temperature and in discharge intensity since 1998, and a zone of dead trees had developed on the steep bank directly west of the fumaroles. Ground temperatures and diffuse flow of CO2 flow through soils were measured in the area surrounding the main spring and new fumaroles and in the zone of tree-kill.

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Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Physical, chemical, and isotopic data for samples from the Anderson Springs area, Lake County, California, 1998-1999
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Contributing office(s):
Geology, Minerals, Energy and Geophysics Science Center
Report: 27 p.; Tables 1-5
United States
Lake County
Anderson Springs
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