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Research




The projects listed below are a random selection. Use criteria above to search by keyword, subject, feature, or region. Combining search criteria may provide few or no results.
Uplift of the Tibetan Plateau: Insights from cosmogenic exposure ages of young lava flows
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The Tibetan plateau is a product of the most dramatic tectonic event of recent geological history: the collision of the Indian sub-continent with Eurasia. In spite of the topographic and tectonic implications of the plateau, the mechanisms for its uplift remain controversial. The controversy is in large part a result of poorly constrained uplift history. Types of evidence that have been adduced for the uplift history include paleoecological date, cooling histories of plutonic and igneous rocks, and geomorphic interpretations. Some lines of evidence indicate relatively gradual uplift since the mid-Tertiary, while others support rapid acceleration of uplift during the latest Cenozoic, with the greatest portion during the Quaternary.

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Monitoring the recovery of Santa Fe's Buckman Water Well Field
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High-production municipal water well fields can depress water levels, cause land subsidence, and disturb subsurface aquifer temperatures. As an example, the City of Santa Fe’s Buckman well field located along the Rio Grande, was pumped at high rates from 1989 to 2003. This high-rate pumping led to a precipitous drop in water level (>100 m), caused measureable ground subsidence over a 25 km2 area (based on 1995-1997 InSAR [satellite-based] data), and created a land-surface fissure with 20 cm of vertical displacement. Pumping rates were reduced after 2003 and water levels have since risen ~120 m.

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Hydrogeology of the Eastern Tularosa Basin
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Desalinated brackish water has been discussed in New Mexico as a possible alternative supply for drinking water. The communities of Tularosa and Alamogordo continue to explore using brackish water as a municipal water supply, and plans are quite advanced toward production. The communities in this region are actively seeking information to insure protection of fresh water supplies while implementing the use of alternate source water sources - brackish groundwater.

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Hydrogeologic Study of the Plains of San Agustin and the Alamosa Creek Valley
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The AMP initiated a regional hydrogeologic study of the Plains of San Agustin and the Alamosa Creek Valley in October 2009 in response to questions and data needs from state agencies (NM OSE/ISC, NM EMNRD Mining and Minerals Division, and NMED). The issues relate to groundwater availability in the San Agustin basin and possible effects of mineral resource development on water quality in ecologically and culturally sensitive Warm Spring and Alamosa Creek near Monticello.

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Geologic Mapping
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Geological Mapping provides the underpinning of most research carried out by our organization. Our goal is to provide state-of-the-art geological maps of sufficient detail to be of benefit for practical applications for the state of New Mexico. These maps can address a wide range specific topics, such as location of geological resources, including mineral and petroleum resources and groundwater, geological hazards, which are all relevant to natural resource use, city planning, and education.

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San Juan Basin - Oil & Gas Resource Assessments

The bureau has been involved for many years in studying the geologic framework and petroleum geology of the Mancos Shale, in the San Juan Basin of northwest New Mexico. Development of resources within the Mancos Shale are likely to constitute a large portion of future oil and natural gas production in the state.

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Hydrogeology of the Questa Area
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The issues are a gap in regional scientific information for deep and shallow, sediment-volcanic aquifers and surface waters in the Questa area; including sustainable sources of drinking water, sources of water to springs and streams that feed fisheries and discharge to the Rio Grande, the character of natural, background water quality, and possible impacts from mine-related waters.

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Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh my!

Actually, its bacteria and elephants and monkeys and humans, oh my! Geochronology (the determination of a rock's age) has a wide variety of applications; one of which is placing absolute age constraints on evolution. The New Mexico Geochronology Research Laboratory mainly focuses on projects in New Mexico and the Southwestern USA. However, in a role that fulfills its broader commitment to the scientific community, projects are undertaken from throughout the world.

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Cosmogenic dating of young basaltic lava flows
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Cosmogenic dating techniques have been successfully applied to dating of geomorphically-young surfaces, such as glacial moraines, beach terraces, and basaltic lava flows that have intact surface features, and hence have undergone little erosion (e.g. Phillips et al., 1997a and b; Phillips et al, in review, Dunbar and Phillips, 1996; Zreda et al., 1991, 1993; Zreda, 1994; Anthony and Poths, 1992, Laughlin et al., 1994). These techniques rely on measurement of cosmogenic nuclides that begin to build up as soon as a rock is exposed to cosmic rays. Therefore, cosmogenic techniques can be applied to dating of any surface that is composed of material that was not exposed to cosmic rays prior to formation of the surface, and has been exposed more-or-less continuously since. In the case of an extrusive volcanic rock, buildup of cosmogenic nuclides begins when the rock is erupted, so measurement of the ratio of a cosmogenic isotope to a non-cosmogenic isotope can provide an estimate of eruption age (Phillips et al., 1986).

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Ice layers in Antarctica hold secrets to the global climate past
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A team of scientists from the Bureau of Geology has spent many Antarctic summers sampling layers of volcanic ash trapped between layers of ice to learn about climate conditions that existed at the time of the ice deposition. While the volcanic ash can be dated to constrain the time of deposition, oxygen isotope signatures in the ice reveal clues about temperatures that existed as the layers were deposited.

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