Environmental Geology and Hydrogeology

Our environmental geology and hydrogeology program is concerned with:

  • Determining potential and actual environmental impacts caused by development of mineral, water, and land resources.
  • Investigating potentially hazardous geologic processes such as landslides, debris flows, earthquakes, and land subsidence.
  • Siting of waste management facilities.
  • Measuring and documenting the geologic characteristics of aquifers.
  • Development of a comprehensive database on the subjects listed above.
debris flow deposits near Red River
Debris flow deposits near Red River, NM

Examples of Bureau of Geology Environmental Projects

  • A cooperative study of soil and indoor radon problems.
  • Mapping and analysis of debris flows, landslides, and subsidence-related features.
  • Characterization of the geologic composition and physical properties of major aquifers in New Mexico.
  • Geologic mapping and environmental evaluation of areas undergoing rapid development.
  • Evaluation of earthquake hazards in cooperation with the Department of Public Safety.
  • Providing geologic expertise to state and federal agencies, Indian tribes, and private industry.

These and other projects are accomplished through a combination of field work, laboratory studies, and mathematical modeling of geologic processes.

Applied research on ground-water resources is an important area of emphasis. Results are used for

  • Developing or protecting ground-water supplies.
  • Evaluating water-quality and pollution problems.
  • Evaluating abandoned mines and mine and mill wastes.
  • Evaluating and utilizing geothermal resources.
  • Public education.

Service and research activities include

  • Investigating and preparing reports on the ground-water geology and water resources of basin, county, and smaller-size areas.
  • Maintaining a database on water wells and ground-water chemistry.
  • Responding to requests for information from the public, other governmental agencies, industries and the research community.
  • Soils Laboratory