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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.
Statewide Water Assessment: Recharge
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The rate and distribution of groundwater recharge to New Mexico’s aquifers is the least understood aspect of the state’s water budget. Despite a history of precise and distributed measurements quantifying surface water flow, water table elevations, precipitation amounts, as well as current models that describe evapotranspiration, a statewide assessment of recharge has not been completed.

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Development of 3D Aquifer Maps

It is surprising that New Mexico does not have a detailed map of all of the productive and accessible aquifers across the state. In a state with as little as 0.24% of our land surface covered with water (the least in the country!), having detailed maps of our groundwater resources and aquifers, is essential. Some of our neighboring states, like Texas and Colorado, have these maps already available, and are successfully being used to administer and conserve water. We have started a new multi-year project to develop 3D maps of aquifers.

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Dating the Sands of Time

A new dating method, being developed at the NMBG&MR, uses our state-of-the-art geochronology laboratory, funded by NSF and NM Tech, to determine the age of detrital sanidine (tiny volcanic minerals) from sediments.

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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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New Mexico's Volcanic Hazards
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photo by: Colin Cikowski

New Mexico is home to many hundreds of volcanoes that erupted during the last several million years. However, the exact timing of these eruptions has proven difficult to determine by many previous studies. An ongoing NSF-funded project, led by NM Bureau of Geology researcher Matthew Zimmerer, examines the timing of eruptions during the last 500,000 years in order to understand the patterns of volcanism in space and time. This information provides the foundation for an assessment of volcanic hazards in New Mexico.

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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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Hydrogeology of the Cuatrociénegas Gypsum Dune Field, Coahuila, Mexico
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The gypsum dune deposits found at Cuatrociénegas and White Sands National Monument are two of only a handful of gypsum dune fields in the world. These surreal landscapes provide beautiful views and outdoor activities for tourists and serve as natural laboratories where researchers can study a variety of topics ranging from geology to evolutionary biology. Combined, both Cuatrociénegas and White Sands National Monument are home to more than 110 endemic species, specially adapted to the unique and fragile ecosystems of these gypsum rich environments.

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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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AML Project: Inventory and Characterization of Inactive/abandoned mine (AML) features in New Mexico
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The NMBGMR has been examining the environmental effects of mine waste rock piles throughout New Mexico since the early 1990s. There are tens of thousands of inactive or abandoned mine features in 273 mining districts in New Mexico (including coal, uranium, metals, and industrial minerals districts), however many of them have not been inventoried or prioritized for reclamation. The New Mexico Abandoned Mine Lands Bureau of the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department estimates that there are more than 15,000 abandoned mine features in the state. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management recently estimated that more than 10,000 mine features are on BLM lands in New Mexico and only 705 sites have been reclaimed. The New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources has collected published and unpublished data on the districts, mines, deposits, occurrences, and mills since it was created in 1927 and is slowly converting historical data into a relational database, the New Mexico Mines Database. More than 8,000 mines are recorded in the New Mexico Mines Database and more than 7,000 are inactive or abandoned. These mines often include two or more actual mine features.

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Hydrogeology of the Placitas Area
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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.

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