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Research — Hydrogeology




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Long Term Groundwater Monitoring in the Animas Valley
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Our agency has been collaborating with the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) on a hydrogeology study along the Animas River in New Mexico in response to the Gold King Mine spill, which occurred in August 2015. The water released from the spill was loaded with dissolved metals and contaminated sediments, which posed a possible risk to groundwater quality in the Animas Valley.

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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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New Mexico: Regional Brackish Water Assessments
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As New Mexico considers the use of desalinated brackish water (less than 10,000 mg/L total dissolved solid) to diversify the public water supply, many questions must first be answered. Where are the brackish water resources? What data are available? What exactly is the water chemistry? How feasible is it to use brackish water for public supply?

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Northeastern Tularosa Basin Regional Hydrogeology Study
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The population centers in Alamogordo, Carrizozo, La Luz, and numerous other small communities, are largely supported by groundwater resources. With few perennial streams in this closed basin, water is sparse. Fresh water resources are limited, and recharge to these areas originates within the high elevation watersheds in the Sacramento Mountains, as precipitation, stream and spring flow. This goal of this study was to improve understanding of the groundwater resources in this region by identifying recharge areas and quantities, determining groundwater flow rates and direction, and to interpret the groundwater/surface water interactions that exist in the region. Methods used in this effort included geologic mapping, groundwater level measurements, and geochemical analyses of the groundwater, springs and streams.

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Peña Blanca Hydrogeology Study
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We began working in Peña Blanca in March 2016 at the request of the NM Environment Department (NMED). The goal was to understand the local hydrogeology of Peña Blanca in order to make a recommendation for an area to place a new well. The need for a new well was highlighted by the discovery of solid waste, a hydraulic fluid tank and a diesel tank immediately adjacent to but on different property than the current municipal well.

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Public-private investment in New Mexico’s water future

The hydrogeology studies group (known as the Aquifer Mapping Program), at the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, received an important gift in 2016 from the Healy Foundation to benefit the New Mexico’s water and natural resources. The funds will be used to support two new water-focused, multi-year programs for the state.

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Sacramento Mountains Watershed Study
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This study evaluated the hydrologic effects of tree thinning in a densely forested, high-elevation watershed (>8000 ft) in the Sacramento Mountains. It was a collaborative project between the Bureau of Geology, NM Tech, NM State University, and NM Forest and Watershed Restoration Institute (Highlands University) and funded three graduate students. In 2011, 400 acres of the watershed were thinned. Results can help water and land managers to apply vegetation management methods to maximize groundwater and surface water resources.

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Southern Sacramento Mountains Hydrogeology Study
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The goals of this study were to delineate areas of groundwater recharge, determine directions and rates of groundwater movement, and better understand the interactions between different aquifers and between the groundwater and surface water systems. Data collected from 2005 to 2009 include geologic mapping, frequent water level measurements in wells, single time and repeated well and spring sampling, precipitation measurement and sampling, fracture orientation measurements, and stream flow measurements.

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Southern Taos Valley Hydrogeology
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The southern Taos Valley, located southwest of the town of Taos, has been experiencing high growth over the last few decades. In order to address growing water needs in this region, Peggy Johnson, Dr. Paul Bauer, and Brigitte Felix, completed a technical report summarizing the local geology and hydrogeology.

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Springs and Wetlands at La Cienega
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The bureau has been involved in a comprehensive study of the geohydrology of the wetlands in the vicinity of La Cienega, south of Santa Fe, since 2011. These springs and wetlands occur where local groundwater flows intersect the surface. They provide an important source of water for domestic and agricultural use as well as wildlife.

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There are 4 more research projects matching these critera (orderd by title).