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Mapping Structural Control Through Analysis of Land-Surface Deformation for the Rialto-Colton Groundwater Subbasin, San Bernardino County, California, 1992–2010

Justin T. Brandt | July 29th, 2022

The locations of many faults in and near the Rialto-Colton groundwater subbasin are not precisely known because the spatial density of existing lithologic and hydrologic data used to infer the locations of faults can be sparse. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District, analyzed structural control of groundwater flow in and near the Rialto-Colton groundwater subbasin using Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) methods. Faults commonly are barriers to groundwater flow, and the high spatial resolution of InSAR imagery can be used to infer the locations of buried faults where groundwater pumping occurs. InSAR results have revealed three areas in and near the Rialto-Colton groundwater subbasin where buried faults are interpreted as groundwater-flow barriers: the northwestern area about 3 miles northwest of the City of Rialto, the San Jacinto fault area west of the City of San Bernardino, and the southeastern area about 2 miles southeast of the City of Colton. The InSAR results were combined with knowledge gained from previous studies to better define the location and extent of faults acting as groundwater-flow barriers. New data about faults acting as groundwater-flow barriers can be incorporated into future conceptual and hydrologic models of the Rialto-Colton groundwater subbasin and provide water managers information to help effectively manage groundwater resources.


basin characterization, Groundwater Exchange, modeling