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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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Statewide Water Assessment: Groundwater Levels and Storage Changes
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Changes in water levels can reflect very relevant water issues in the arid southwest, such as depletion of the aquifer, variations in nearby surface water, fluctuations in recharge, and changes in the groundwater storage. For this study, we are compiling water level data, in an effort to begin development of a statewide water level change contour map.

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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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Geologic Mapping
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Geological Mapping provides the underpinning of most research carried out by our organization. Our goal is to provide state-of-the-art geological maps of sufficient detail to be of benefit for practical applications for the state of New Mexico. These maps can address a wide range specific topics, such as location of geological resources, including mineral and petroleum resources and groundwater, geological hazards, which are all relevant to natural resource use, city planning, and education.

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Truth or Consequences Geothermal Resource Assessment
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The City of Truth or Consequences has contracted NM Tech Earth and Environmental Science Department and the New Mexico Bureau of Geology to undertake a 1-year field and hydrologic modeling study focused on the sustainability of geothermal resources. The NM Bureau of Geology and the Aquifer Mapping Program will provide additional funding and support for this study.

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Volcanic record in Antarctic ice
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Volcanic ash and associated aerosol layers in glacier ice offer a uniquely complete record of explosive volcanism. Investigation of these layers, both in bare ice areas of and in ice cores offers insight into eruptive processes, local and regional ice flow processes, and the impact of eruptions on global systems (climate and ozone depletion). The Antarctic ice sheet is an ideal place to preserve a record of volcanic eruptions. The combination of chemical fingerprinting of glass shards, and chemical analysis of volcanic aerosols associated with tephra layers in Antarctic blue ice allows establishment of a high-resolution chronology of local and distant volcanism that can help understand patterns of significant explosive volcanism, atmospheric loading, and climatic effects associated with volcanic eruptions.

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San Juan Basin - Oil & Gas Resource Assessments

The bureau has been involved for many years in studying the geologic framework and petroleum geology of the Mancos Shale, in the San Juan Basin of northwest New Mexico. Development of resources within the Mancos Shale are likely to constitute a large portion of future oil and natural gas production in the state.

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Hydrologic Investigation at White Sands National Monument
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This hydrology study of the White Sands dunes was initiated in 2010 to evaluate sources of recharge to the shallow aquifer within the sand dunes and its interconnection with the deep, regional aquifer. Results will provide vital information to help preserve and manage this unique natural resource under the pressures of population growth and climate change.

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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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San Juan Basin - Reasonable Foreseeable Development

At the end of 2012 New Mexico Tech embarked on a project in the San Juan Basin of northwestern New Mexico. This project is a joint effort of the Petroleum Recovery Research Center (PRRC), the Department of Petroleum Engineering, and the Bureau of Geology. Project goals include a more detailed characterization of existing Mancos Shale oil and gas reserves, as well as an evaluation of water resources available for the future development of these reserves.

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