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Placitas

study area

The characterization of the Placitas area hydrology, located in the foothills of the northern Sandia Mountains, was an important step for water resource planning and development. Due to increased population and demand on groundwater supplies, with drought conditions in the mid-1990s, local water levels were declining. The Bureau of Geology initiated this study in 1997 to characterize the availability and quality of groundwater and surface water resources in the Placitas area. Findings were interpreted with detailed geologic maps and cross sections that supported a hydrogeologic conceptual model of groundwater flow and occurrence. This study was completed in 2002 and has been incorporated into the Placitas Area Development Plan by Sandoval County.

For more information, please contact:
Stacy Timmons, Hydrogeologist / Aquifer Mapping Program Manager, stacy.timmons@nmt.edu

AMP-Relevant Publications

Hydrogeology and water resources of the Placitas area, Sandoval County, New Mexico

Available for free download.

Open-file Report 511
2002, updated January 2008, Peggy Johnson, William J. LeFevre, and Andrew Campbell

Selected References

  1. Anderson, O. J., Lucas, S. G., Kottlowski, F. E., Bauer, P. W., Love, D. W., Hawley, J. W., Smith, G. S., Pazzaglia, F. J., and Cross, A., 1995, Stratigraphic nomenclature chart: New Mexico Geological Society, Guidebook 46.
  2. Atkinson, T. C., 1977, Diffuse flow and conduit flow in limestone terrain in the Mendip Hills, Somerset (Great Britain): Journal of Hydrology, v. 35, p. 93-110.
  3. Caine, J. S., Evans, J. P., and Forster, C. B., 1996, Fault zone architecture and permeability structure: Geology, v. 24, p. 1025-1028.
  4. Cather, S. M., 1997, Toward a hydrogeologic classification of map units in the Santa Fe Group, Rio Grande rift, New Mexico: New Mexico Geology, v. 19, no. 1, p. 15-21.
  5. Chapin, C. E. and Cather, S. M., 1994, Tectonic setting of the axial basins of the northern and central Rio Grande rift; in Keller, G.R. and Cather, S.M., ed., Basins of the Rio Grande Rift: structure, stratigraphy, and tectonic setting: Geological Society of America, Special Paper 291, pp. 5-25.
  6. Clark, I. D. and Fritz, P., 1997, Environmental isotopes in Hydrogeology: Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton, 328 p.
  7. Connell, S. D., 1996, Quaternary geology and geomorphology of the Sandia Mountains piedmont, Bernalillo and Sandoval Counties, central New Mexico: New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources Open-File Report 425, 3 volumes, 390 p.
  8. Connell, S. D., 1998, Geology of the Bernalillo 7.5 minute quadrangle, Sandoval County, New Mexico: New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources, Open-file Digital Geologic Map OF-DM 16.
  9. Connell, S. D., Cather, S. M., Ilg, B., Karlstrom, K., Menne, B., Picha, M., Andronicus, C., Read, A., Bauer, P., and Johnson, P. S., 1995, Geology of the Placitas 7.5-min quadrangle, Sandoval County, New Mexico: New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources, Open-file Digital Geologic Map OF-DM 2, scale 1:12,000.
  10. Connell, S. D., Koning, D. J., and Cather, S. M., 1999, Revisions to the stratigraphic nomenclature of the Santa Fe Group, northwestern Albuquerque Basin, New Mexico: New Mexico Geological Society, Guidebook 50, p. 337-353.
  11. Domenico, P. A., and Schwartz, F. W., 1990, Physical and chemical hydrogeology: John Wiley & Sons, New York, 824 p.
  12. Dorroh, J. H., Jr., 1946, Certain hydrologic and climatic characteristics of the southwest: University of New Mexico, Publications in Engineering no. 1, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 64 p.
  13. Driscoll, F.G., 1989, Groundwater and Wells: Johnson Filtration Systems, Inc., St. Paul, 1089 p.
  14. Freeze, R. A. and Cherry, J. A., 1979, Groundwater: Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, 604 p.
  15. Gorham, T. W. and Ingersoll, R. V., 1979, Evolution of the Eocene Galisteo Basin, north-central New Mexico: New Mexico Geological Society, Guidebook 30, p. 219-224.
  16. Hale, W. E., Reiland, L. J., and Beverage, J. P., 1965, Characteristics of the water supply in New Mexico: New Mexico State Engineer Technical Report 31, 131 p.
  17. Hansen, S. and Gorbach, C., 1997, Middle Rio Grande water assessment: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Albuquerque Area Office Final Report, variously paged.
  18. Hawley, J. W., 1996, Hydrogeologic framework of potential recharge areas in the Albuquerque Santa Fe aquifer, northern Albuquerque Basin, New Mexico: New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources, Open-File Report 402-D, p. 1-70.
  19. Hawley, J. W. and Haase, C. S., 1992, Hydrogeologic framework of the northern Albuquerque Basin: New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources, Open-File Report 387, 165 p.
  20. Hawley, J. W. and Whitworth, T. M., 1996, Hydrogeology of potential recharge areas for the basin- and valley-fill aquifer systems, and hydrogeochemical modeling of proposed artificial recharge of the upper Santa Fe aquifer, northern Albuquerque Basin, New Mexico: New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources, Open-File Report 402-D, 575 p.
  21. Heynekamp, M. R., Goodwin, L. B., Mozley, P. S., and Haneberg, W. C., 1999, Controls on faultzone architecture in poorly lithified sediments, Rio Grande Rift, New Mexico: implications for fault-zone permeability and fluid flow, in Haneberg, W. C., Mozley, P. S., Moore, L. C., and Goodwin, L. B., eds., Faults and subsurface fluid flow in the shallow crust: American Geophysical Union, Geophysical Monograph 113, p. 27-49.
  22. Huntoon, P. W. and Lundy, D.A., 1979, Fracture-controlled ground-water circulation and well siting in the vicinity of Laramie, Wyoming: Ground Water v. 17, no. 5, p. 463-469.
  23. Johnson, A. I., 1967, Specific yield -- compilation of specific yields for various materials: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Supply Paper 1662-D, 74 p.
  24. Johnson, P., 1999, A double-porosity model of ground-water flow in the Madera Formation based on spring hydrographs and aquifer test analyses from Placitas, New Mexico: New Mexico Geological Society, Guidebook 50, p. 393-399.
  25. Kelley, V. C., 1977, Geology of the Albuquerque Basin, New Mexico: New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources, Memoir 33, 60 p.
  26. Kelley, V. C. and Northrop, S. A., 1975, Geology of the Sandia Mountains and vicinity: New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources, Memoir 29, 136 p.
  27. LeFevre, W. J., 1999, Geochemical characterization of geologically complex mountain front aquifers: Placitas, New Mexico [M.S. thesis]: Socorro, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, 209 p.
  28. Levens, R. L., Williams, R. E., and Ralston, D. R., 1994, Hydrogeologic role of geologic structures. Part 1: the paradigm: Journal of Hydrology, v. 156, p. 227-243.
  29. Lucas, S. G., Cather, S. M., Abbott, J. C., and Williamson, T. E., 1997, Stratigraphy and tectonic implications of Paleogene strata in the Laramide Galisteo Basin, north-central New Mexico: New Mexico Geology, vol. 19, no. 4, p. 89-95.
  30. Mazor, E., 1991, Applied chemical and isotopic groundwater hydrology: Halsted Press, New York, 273 p.
  31. Menne, B., 1989, Structure of the Placitas area, northern Sandia uplift, Sandoval County, New Mexico [M.S. thesis]: Albuquerque, University of New Mexico, 163 p.
  32. Middle Rio Grande Council of Governments, 1992, Summary of 1990 census data for development of New Mexico State Planning and Development District: MRGCOG Special Report 247, May 1992, 171 p.
  33. National Climatic Data Center, 2000, Surface land observations, monthly summaries: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/ol/climate/climateresources.html.
  34. Phillips, F. M., Peeters, L. A., Tansey, M. K., and Davis, S. N., 1986, Paleoclimatic inferences from an isotopic investigation of groundwater in the central San Juan basin, New Mexico: Quaternary Research, v. 26, pp. 179-193.
  35. Picha, M., 1982, Structure and stratigraphy of the Montezuma salient-Hagan basin area, Sandoval County, New Mexico [M.S. thesis]: Albuquerque, University of New Mexico, 248 p.
  36. Smith, G. A., Larsen, D., Harlan, S. S., McIntosh, W. C., Erskine, D. W., and Taylor S., 1991, A tale of two volcaniclastic aprons: field guide to the sedimentology and physical volcanology of the Oligocene Espinaso Formation and Miocene Peralta Tuff, northcentral New Mexico in Julian, B. and Zidek, J., eds, Field guide to geologic excursions in New Mexico, Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources
  37. Smith, L., Forster, C., and Evans, J., 1990, Interaction of fault zones, fluid flow, and heat transfer at the basin scale, in Neuman, S.P. and Neretnieks, I., eds., Hydrogeology of low permeability environments: Verlag Heinz Heise, p. 41-67.
  38. Thorn, C. R., McAda, D. P., and Kernodle, J. M., 1993, Geohydrologic framework and hydrologic conditions in the Albuquerque Basin, central New Mexico: U.S. Geological Survey, Water-Resources Investigations Report 93-4149, 106 p.
  39. Titus, F. B., 1980, Ground water in the Sandia and northern Manzano Mountains, New Mexico: New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources, Hydrologic Report 5, 66 p.
  40. Tuan, Y-F., Everard, C. E., and Widdison, J. G., 1969, The climate of New Mexico: Santa Fe, State Planning Office, 169 p.
  41. Viessman, W., Jr., and Lewis, G. L., 1996, Introduction to hydrology: HarperCollins College Publishers, New York, 760 p.
  42. Williams, J. L. and McAllister, P. E., 1979, New Mexico in Maps: Albuquerque, University of New Mexico.
  43. Woodward, L. A. and Menne, B., 1995, Down-plunge structural interpretation of the Placitas area, northwestern part of the Sandia uplift, central New Mexico -- implications for the tectonic evolution of the Rio Grande rift: New Mexico Geological Society, Guidebook 46, p. 127-133.