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New Mexico Subsurface Data & Core Libraries


These publicly available facilities contain more than 20,000 boxes of New Mexico core (oil & gas core and mining core), cuttings from more than 15,000 wells in New Mexico , logs from 50,000 New Mexico wells, maps of frontier and the lesser productive counties showing locations of oil & gas exploratory wells, and other useful well data. These libraries are an important source of geologic and engineering information regarding exploration for, and development of, oil and natural gas, water, coal, uranium, carbon dioxide, and helium in New Mexico. The Subsurface Library is used extensively by industry, students, state and federal agencies, and by our geologists. Several hundred visitors and telephone inquiries are received each year.

Data elements on file include: well cuttings (15,000 wells), well records (100,000+ wells), drillers logs (17,000 wells), electric and other geophysical logs (50,000 wells; some with mudlogs), sample descriptions and sample logs (4,300 wells), petroleum exploration maps that show well locations in frontier counties (26 counties), pool maps that show locations of producing oil and gas pools by stratigraphic unit (personal digital version available as New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources Circular 209), production data, geologic maps, petroleum-related publications, and a limited number of core analyses and drill-stem test records. A computerized list of cuttings in our collection is available on request. Facilities and microscopes are available for cuttings analysis, and worktables are available for visitors. Photocopies of records such as well logs and petroleum exploration maps may be obtained at nominal cost. Arrangements can be made to borrow cuttings upon payment of shipping costs (please see our fee structure for access to cuttings/core or contact the Subsurface Library for more information). Companies and individuals who wish to donate cuttings, logs, or other information to the Subsurface Library are asked to call or write. Donations are always welcome and most of our materials have come from donations of generous companies and individuals.

Three of our new modern, steel core buildings located on the New Mexico Tech campus in Socorro. Each building holds tens of thousands of feet of core, an irreplaceable resource for study of the earth and its processes.

Core Library

The purpose of the Core Library is to have available for study representative cores from rock formations in different parts of New Mexico. The Core Library consists of five warehouses, a processing area, and tables for examining core. Microscopes are available for visitor's use.

We allow samples of cores to be taken provided that at least one-half of the core remains for future examination and that copies of any analytical reports be shared with us. All sampling must be approved beforehand. In addition to the cores, location information, geophysical logs, drillers' logs, and other material are available for many holes.

Core Photo
A box of slabbed core from a natural gas reservoir in the San Juan Basin of New Mexico.

More than 4,000 cores donated by over 100 different companies and other organizations are ready for examination. The age of units in these cores ranges from Precambrian to Holocene. Archived core is representative of oil, gas, coal, mineral and water exploration in New Mexico. Companies and individuals who wish to donate core to the Core Library are asked to call or write.

Digital Data and Data Catalogs

We have digital data catalogs of wells for which we have cuttings, cores and logs available in Microsoft Access format. Our catalogs of core and cuttings data are up-to-date. Our catalog of well log data is under construction but is partially available. Please contact Amy Trivitt-Kracke or Annabelle Lopez (see top of page for contact information) to access these catalogs. We hope to have web-based access to these catalogs soon. We can also provide digital images of logs for selected wells in New Mexico. These are digital images of well logs that are not in the Oil Conservation Division's database. Please contact Amy Trivitt-Kracke for further information.

Porosity and permeability analyses

A limited number of porosity and permeability analyses of cores are available as PDFs. These scans are of oil and gas cores that are in our collections.


During the past few years we have received donations of more than 11,000 boxes of core from Amoco, Altura, and El Paso Energy. In addition, we have acquired a substantial portion of the Shell Oil Co. New Mexico core formerly stored at Texas Bureau of Economic Geology facilities in Austin, TX and in Midland, TX. We also receive smaller donations of core and cuttings from numerous entities throughout the state, including oil and gas operators, mining companies, and government entities such as the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the City of Albuquerque. These donations, as well as our extensive cuttings and log libraries, establish our facility as the premier facility for subsurface geological and oil and gas data for the state of New Mexico. Our staff fields questions from industry geologists and engineers, the general public, and state and federal oil & gas professionals on a daily basis.

Our only substantial source of funds to erect new buildings for core storage is through donations. We hope that you will consider donating money for this worthy purpose in order to save New Mexico core within New Mexico and place that core with an organization whose employees understand the use and geology of the core and will care for the core. As a public educational institution, donations may be tax deductible. At present, it costs more than $100,000 to construct a 30 by 100 ft insulated and ventilated steel core building and equip it with sturdy shelving and other necessary equipment. Please help us preserve New Mexico core and keep New Mexico core in New Mexico.

Financial donors to our Subsurface and Core Library facility include Altura, Amoco (BP), Ceja Corp., Chesapeake Operating, Chisos Ltd of Deming NM, Conoco, Cross Timbers Operating, The Cuesta Foundation of Oklahoma, D.J. Simmons Inc of Farmington NM, El Paso Energy and Louis Dreyfus Natural Gas.

Fee Structure for access to cuttings/core and logs from the Subsurface and Core Libraries

Our user fees are very low and are used to defray costs associated with student assistants and expendable materials and supplies. We have also designed and built our facilities so that maintenance and upkeep costs are near zero. This keeps user costs down.


  • On site examination: no charge
  • Mail order: $3.00 per box + shipping


  • On site examination: no charge if visitor pulls and reshelves boxes (liability release required), otherwise $5.00 per box for the first 20 boxes and $3.00 per box for each box over 20
  • Mail order: $10.00 per box + shipping (maximum number of boxes we will normally ship is 10 unless special arrangements are made)

Well Logs

Orders for well logs should include as much of the following information as possible for each log ordered: location of the well in terms of section, township, range, and county; name of the person or company that drilled the well, well number, and lease name.

  • Log Copies: $0.25/page (whole logs) or $0.50/ft (partial logs)
  • Log Scans: $5.00/first scan then $3.00 thereafter (scans exist) or $5.00/scan (new scans)

On-site charges waived for frequent and/or large contributors. Mail order means that we ship the cuttings or core to you for inspection.


  • Ron Broadhead
    Principal Petroleum Geologist (geological & technical questions, data inquiries)
  • Annabelle Lopez
    Petroleum Information Coordinator (primary contact for core and cuttings information)
  • Amy Trivitt-Kracke
    Petroleum Computer Specialist (primary contact for well logs and other well records)