abstract

The earthquake of December 16, 1954, affected hydrologic conditions in the Dixie Valley and Fairview Valley areas, Nevada. In Dixie Valley the rate of flow of water from wells was temporarily increased and water flowed for more than a month from several wells that had not flowed before. Water levels in wells were higher after the earthquake, but the trend of water levels since the earthquake has varied locally. There is no evidence that ground-water temperatures were affected.

The flow of Mud Springs, which is on the main fault on the west side of Dixie Valley, increased substantially immediately after the earthquake, but since has decreased to essentially its pre-earthquake rate.

The water level in Fairview Valley was about 4 feet higher after the earthquake. In East Gate Valley and at West Gate, ground-water levels were lower after the earthquake. In June, 1956, the water level in East Gate Valley was 34 feet lower than the pre-earthquake level. At West Gate the water level was about 9 feet lower. In Stingaree Valley the water level began to rise after an initial decline and reached a peak about 11 feet higher than the pre-earthquake level.

Possible causes for the rise in ground-water levels in Dixie and Fairview Valleys include tilting of the confined and semiconfined aquifers in the valleys, compaction of the sediments of the valley fill, and increased upward leakage of ground water.

It is possible that opening of new fractures and widening of pre-existing fractures in the bedrock between East Gate, Cowkick, and Stingaree valleys has accelerated the rate of movement of ground water between those valleys.

The temporary increase in the flow of water from Mud Springs may be due to the opening of fractures in the fault zone along which the water is rising, or to a possible lowering of the land surface at the springs with a resulting increase in artesian head at the spring orifices.

It is thought that any increase in the total discharge of ground water in the Dixie Valley and Fairview Valley areas is temporary because the increased discharge is probably from ground-water storage.

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