To better identify the three-dimensional geohydrologic framework of the Santa Clara Valley, lithologic, geologic, geophysical, geomechanical, hydraulic, and water-chemistry data were collected from eight ground-water multiple-well monitoring sites constructed in Santa Clara County, California, as part of a series of cooperative studies between the U.S. Geological Survey and the Santa Clara Valley Water District. The data are being used to update and improve the three-dimensional geohydrologic framework of the basin and to address issues related to water supply, water chemistry, sequence stratigraphy, geology, and geological hazards. This report represents a compilation of data collected from 1999 to 2003, including location and design of the monitoring sites, cone penetrometer borings, geologic logs, lithologic logs, geophysical logs, core analysis, water-chemistry analysis, ground-water-level measurements, and hydraulic and geomechanical properties from wells and core samples.
Exploratory cone penetrometer borings taken in the upper 17 to 130 feet at six of the monitoring sites identified the base of Holocene as no deeper than 75 feet in the central confined area and no deeper than 35 feet in the southern unconfined areas of the valley. Generalized lithologic characterization from the monitoring sites indicates about four to six different aquifer units separated by relatively fine-grained units occur within the alluvial deposits shallower than 860 feet deep. Analysis of geophysical logs indicates that coarse-grained units varied in thickness between 10 and 25 feet in the southeastern unconfined area of the valley and between 50 and 200 feet in the south-central and southwestern areas of the valley. Deviations from temperature-gradient logs indicate that the majority of horizontal ground-water flow occurs above a depth of 775 feet in the south central and above 510 feet in the southeastern areas of the valley. Bulk physical properties from more than 1,150 feet of core samples indicate an average primary-wave velocity of about 5,515 feet per second, a bimodal distribution of density between 2.19 and 2.32 grams per cubic centimeter with an average of 2.16 grams per cubic centimeter, and a magnetic susceptibility that generally ranged between
9 and 40 with an average of 22.
Water-chemistry data indicate that the ground water in the alluvial aquifers generally is low in total dissolved solids and chloride and of good quality. Isotopic data indicate that water from artificial recharge is present throughout the shallower parts of the aquifer system but may not be present toward the center of the valley. The percentage of water from artificial recharge present in ground water ranges from 0 to 61 percent for water-supply wells. The age of most shallow ground water is less than 2,000 years before present, and the age of deeper ground water is as much as 39,900 years before present, as determined from carbon age dates.
Initial water-level data from the multiple-well monitoring sites indicate seasonal water-level fluctuations as great as 60 feet and water-level differences between aquifers as great as 10 feet. The water-level hydrographs indicate different water-level changes and relations between aquifers in different parts of the basin. However, most of these hydrographs indicate the potential for downward water-level gradients, with lower hydraulic heads in the deeper monitoring wells.
Hydraulic properties of selected new monitoring wells indicate that horizontal hydraulic conductivities range from 0.1 to 583 feet per day. Hydraulic testing of selected core samples yielded vertical hydraulic conductivity values ranging from 8 x 10-4 to 0.3 feet per day, and effective porosity values ranging from 0.21 to 0.4. Geomechanical properties estimated from one-dimensional consolidation tests of selected core samples resulted in geometric mean inelastic and elastic specific storage values of 1.5 x 10-
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Geologic, water-chemistry, and hydrologic data from multiple-well monitoring sites and selected water-supply wells in the Santa Clara Valley, California, 1999-2003