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Geoscience At the Bureau of Geology

Since 1927 the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources has been pursuing fundamental geoscience research on the geologic framework of our state. This work has included geologic mapping and assessments of the state’s natural resources, as well as research on diverse aspects of the state’s geology. Throughout our history we have conducted statewide resource inventories and evaluations of oil & gas, coal, potash, and other minerals. We are also responsible for archiving and providing this information to other researchers, government agencies, industry, educators, and the general public.

In addition to these fundamental programs, which have flourished over the years, much of the research accomplished today at the bureau is through smaller, focused, regional studies. Many are done at the request of (and often with the financial support of) other state and federal agencies, including the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the New Mexico State Land Office, and local city and county governments throughout the state. These studies are generally more detailed, often with more specific goals in mind. But in all cases the ultimate goal is to provide solid, unbiased geologic information and expertise relevant to the state’s societal needs (such as the increasing scarcity and vulnerability of the state’s water resources) or to help boost regional economic development, be it related to agriculture, mining, oil & gas, geothermal resources, or tourism.

Citizens of New Mexico and elsewhere — including geologists, engineers, landowners, prospectors, legislators, students, industry personnel, and tourists — seek technical advice from our staff and utilize our laboratories. Our staff answer letters and telephone inquiries, and consult with visitors. Staff mineralogists routinely identify hand specimens of rocks and minerals that are brought to the Bureau of Geology. Many visitors, and school groups, tour our Mineral Museum and visit our bookstore. Through our Geologic Extension Service (GES), we support K-12 education by conducting teacher and student workshops as well as providing geoscience education resources to teachers.

As a division of New Mexico Tech, much of our research involves graduate students and is often conducted in collaboration with faculty from other departments or divisions of the university. We also frequently work with graduate students from other institutions.

Argon lab
The Argon Geochronolgy lab in 2017