U.S. Geological Survey
Open-File Report 00-043, Version 2.0

Bathymetric, Geophysical and Geologic Sample Data from Medicine Lake, Siskiyou County, Northern California


Jonathan R. Childs (1), Jacob B. Lowenstern (2) , R. Lawrence Phillips (1), Patrick Hart (1), James J. Rytuba (3), John A. Barron (2), Scott W. Starratt (2), and Sarah Spaulding (4)

Open File Report 00-043


This report is preliminary and has not been reviewed for conformity with U.S. Geological Survey editorial standards or with the North American Stratigraphic Code. Any use of trade, product, or firm names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. 



(1) Mail Stop 999, 345 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025 USA
(2) Mail Stop 910, 345 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025 USA
(3) Mail Stop 901, 345 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025 USA
(4) California Academy of Sciences, Dept. of IZ&G, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA 94118 USA


A. Introduction
B. Bathymetric and geophysical program
C. Sediment Coring program
D. Mercury analysis
E. Paleontologic analysis
F. List of Tables
G. List of Figures
H. Contacts
I. Acknowledgements

I. Bathymetric and geophysical program field notes (observer logs)
II. Summary of seismic reflection profile lines
III. ASCII bathymetric data file

Figure A1: Location of Medicine Lake Volcano, California.

Figure A2: Aerial view of Medicine Lake from the northeast. Photo by Julie Donnelly-Nolan, USGS

About Medicine Lake in September 1999:

Perimeter of Lake

6213 m or 20,380 ft

Area of Lake

1.65 square km = 408 acres

Volume of lake

13,400,000 cubic meters = 3.5 billion gallons = 10,860 acre-feet

Elevation of lake surface

2036m or 6680 feet

Greatest depth

46.4 m or 152.2 feet

Mean depth

7.3m or 23.9 feet

Median depth

4.9m or 16.1 feet

In September, 1999, the U.S. Geological Survey acquired high-resolution bathymetry, seismic reflection profiles, and geologic sample data from Medicine Lake, a high altitude (2,036 m) lake located within the summit caldera/basin at Medicine Lake volcano (MLV), a dormant Quaternary shield volcano located in the Cascade Range, 50 km northeast of Mt. Shasta. It last erupted less than 1000 years ago.The purpose of this work was to assess whether sediments in the lake might provide a high-resolution record of the climate, volcanic and geochemical (particularly mercury) history of the region. We are still working with our data to assess whether the sediments are appropriate for further study. This report provides a summary of what we have learned to date.

Selected data products include:

Tables include:

Figures include:


Geographic location, geologic setting, and physiographic environment of the Medicine Lake volcanic region are described at:



Jon Childs

Jake Lowenstern

U.S. Geological Survey

U.S. Geological Survey

M/S 999

M/S 910

345 Middlefield Rd.

345 Middlefield Rd.

Menlo Park CA 94025

Menlo Park CA 94025

(650) 329-5195

(650) 329-5238





We appreciate considerable logistical assistance from Jayne Biggerstaff, Dan Meza, Brad Reed and Randall Sharp of the U.S. Forest Service, Modoc National Forest. At the USGS, Julie Donnelly-Nolan and Duane Champion offered advice and geologic expertise. Gerald O'Brien and Larry Kooker kept the Fast Eddy and the geophysical surveying equipment in top working order and the field program running smoothly. This work was funded through the USGS Volcano Hazards, Mineral Resources, Earth Surface Dynamics and Coastal and Marine Surveys Programs as well as through a grant from the Office of the Chief Geologist.

Front | Coring | Mercury | Diatoms | Bathymetry


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