Hydrogeology of Middle Canyon, Oquirrh Mountains, Tooele County, Utah
Water Supply Paper 1619-K
Prepared in cooperation with the Utah Water and Power Board
- Joseph Spencer Gates
Geology and climate are the principal influences affecting the hydrology of Middle Canyon, Tooele County, Utah. Reconnaissance in the canyon indicated that the geologic influences on the hydrology may be localized; water may be leaking through fault and fracture zones or joints in sandstone and through solution openings in limestone of the Oquirrh formation of Pennsylvanian and Permian age. Surficial deposits of Quaternary age serve as the main storage material for ground water in the canyon and transmit water from the upper canyon to springs and drains at the canyon mouth. The upper canyon is a more important storage area than the lower canyon because the surficial deposits are thicker, and any zones of leakage in the underlying bedrock of the upper canyon probably would result in greater leakage than would similar outlets in the lower canyon.
The total annual discharge from Middle Canyon, per unit of precipitation, decreased between 1910 and 1939. Similar decreases occurred in Parleys Canyon in the nearby Wasatch Range and in other drainage basins in Utah, and it is likely that most of the decrease in discharge from Middle Canyon and other canyons in Utah is due to a change in climate.
Chemical analyses of water showed that the high content of sulfate and other constituents in the water from the Utah Metals tunnel, which drains into Middle Canyon, does not have a significant effect on water quality at the canyon mouth. This suggests that much of the tunnel water is lost from the channel by leakage, probably in the upper canyon, during the dry part of the year.
Comparison of the 150 acre-feet of water per square mile of drainage area discharged by Middle Canyon in 1947 with the 623 and 543 acre-feet per square mile discharged in 1948 by City Creek and Mill Creek Canyons, two comparable drainage basins in the nearby Wasatch Range, also suggests that there is leakage in Middle Canyon.
A hydrologic budget of the drainage basin results in an estimate that about 3,000 acre-feet of water was unaccounted for in the 1947 water year. This may represent a reasonable estimate of annual leakage from Middle Canyon.
The future development of Middle Canyon water can best be planned after additional information is obtained on movement of water through the channel fill. Much of this information could be supplied by test drilling in the channel fill.
Additional publication details
- Publication type:
- Publication Subtype:
- USGS Numbered Series
- Hydrogeology of Middle Canyon, Oquirrh Mountains, Tooele County, Utah
- Series title:
- Water Supply Paper
- Series number:
- Year Published:
- U.S. Government Printing Office
- Publisher location:
- Washington, D.C.
- Contributing office(s):
- Utah Water Science Center
- Report: iv, 40 p.; Plate: 16.00 x 15.00 inches
- United States
- Tooele County
- Other Geospatial:
- Middle Canyon, Oquirrh Mountains