High resolution x-ray diffraction methods have been used to characterize GaAs grown at low substrate temperatures by molecular beam epitaxy and to examine the effects of post-growth annealing on the structure of the layers. Double crystal rocking curves from the as-deposited epitaxial layer show well-defined interference fringes, indicating a high level of structural perfection despite the presence of excess arsenic. Annealing at temperatures from 700 to 900°C resulted in a decrease in the perpendicular lattice mismatch between the GaAs grown at low temperature and the substrate from 0.133% to 0.016% and a decrease (but not total elimination) of the visibility of the interference fringes. Triple-crystal diffraction scans around the 004 point in reciprocal space exhibited an increase in the apparent mosaic spread of the epitaxial layer with increasing anneal temperature. The observations are explained in terms of the growth of arsenic precipitates in the epitaxial layer.