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Open-File Report 2006-1377

Distribution, thickness, and volume of fine-grained sediment from precipitation of metals from acid-mine waters in Keswick Reservoir, Shasta County, California


Terry R. Bruns1, Charles N. Alpers2, and Paul Carlson1


1U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, CA
2U.S. Geological Survey, Sacramento, CA


In February 1993, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) acquired high-resolution seismic-reflection data to map the distribution and thickness of fine-grained sediments associated with acid-mine drainage in Keswick Reservoir on the Sacramento River, near Redding, California. In the Spring Creek Arm of Keswick Reservoir, the sediments occurred in three distinct accumulations; thicknesses are greater than 2 meters (m) in the western accumulation, greater than 5 m in the central accumulation, and up to 8 m in the eastern accumulation. In Keswick Reservoir, fine-grained sediments related to acid-mine drainage were present from slightly north of the Spring Creek Arm downstream to the Keswick Dam. Sediment thickness varies from about 3 m opposite the mouth of the Spring Creek Arm to less than 1 m near Keswick Dam.

Our estimate for the total volume of fine-grained sediments in the Spring Creek Arm at the time of the geophysical survey in February 1993 is about 152,000 cubic meters in three sediment accumulations, with about 14,000, 32,000, and 105,000 cubic meters respectively in the western, central, and eastern accumulations. We interpreted that an additional 110, 000 cubic meters of material was present in the main part of Keswick Reservoir. At the time of data collection, we therefore estimate that the total volume of fine-grained sediment was 260,000 cubic meters. In the main part of Keswick Reservoir, 42% to 50% of the reservoir area contiguous to Spring Creek Arm had mappable fine-grained sediments. Decreasing sediment supply down-reservoir meant that mappable sediment covered only about 35% of the reservoir in the area to the south, decreasing to about 12% near Keswick Dam. Much of the reservoir bottom below the Spring Creek Arm could have had a thin (less than 20-30 cm) cover of fine-grained sediment that was not mappable using the seismic-reflection data.

For more information contact: Charles Alpers

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