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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.
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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Hydrogeology of the La Cienega & La Cieneguilla Wetlands
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Building on its basin-scale hydrogeologic studies of the Española Basin (2003-2010), in 2010-2013 the Aquifer Mapping Program helped develop a better understanding of the groundwater contribution to the wetlands around La Cienega. This work was completed with collaboration and support from NMED, NMOSE, Santa Fe County, and USF&WS.

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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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Cosmogenic dating of young basaltic lava flows
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Cosmogenic dating techniques have been successfully applied to dating of geomorphically-young surfaces, such as glacial moraines, beach terraces, and basaltic lava flows that have intact surface features, and hence have undergone little erosion (e.g. Phillips et al., 1997a and b; Phillips et al, in review, Dunbar and Phillips, 1996; Zreda et al., 1991, 1993; Zreda, 1994; Anthony and Poths, 1992, Laughlin et al., 1994). These techniques rely on measurement of cosmogenic nuclides that begin to build up as soon as a rock is exposed to cosmic rays. Therefore, cosmogenic techniques can be applied to dating of any surface that is composed of material that was not exposed to cosmic rays prior to formation of the surface, and has been exposed more-or-less continuously since. In the case of an extrusive volcanic rock, buildup of cosmogenic nuclides begins when the rock is erupted, so measurement of the ratio of a cosmogenic isotope to a non-cosmogenic isotope can provide an estimate of eruption age (Phillips et al., 1986).

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A hydrogeologic investigation of Curry and Roosevelt Counties, New Mexico

As part of development of a regional source water protection plan, in 2015–2016 the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources performed a technical review of existing hydrogeology studies in Curry and Roosevelt counties in east-central New Mexico.

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Geology and Hydrogeology of the Estancia Basin and East Mountains
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The New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources has a long history of conducting and supporting hydrogeologic investigations in the Estancia Basin of central New Mexico.

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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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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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Uplift of the Tibetan Plateau: Insights from cosmogenic exposure ages of young lava flows
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The Tibetan plateau is a product of the most dramatic tectonic event of recent geological history: the collision of the Indian sub-continent with Eurasia. In spite of the topographic and tectonic implications of the plateau, the mechanisms for its uplift remain controversial. The controversy is in large part a result of poorly constrained uplift history. Types of evidence that have been adduced for the uplift history include paleoecological date, cooling histories of plutonic and igneous rocks, and geomorphic interpretations. Some lines of evidence indicate relatively gradual uplift since the mid-Tertiary, while others support rapid acceleration of uplift during the latest Cenozoic, with the greatest portion during the Quaternary.

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Enhanced Potash Recovery Techniques

In cooperation with several partners in industry, a team at the bureau has developed and introduced new reagent suites and process modifications which have dramatically increased the efficiency of potash recovery from existing reserves. These new techniques have been adopted by plants within the state and will result in increased recoveries, reduced energy and reagent costs, and more effective utilization of the state’s potash resources. These resources, which are concentrated in the southeast corner of the state, are used primarily in the manufacture of agricultural fertilizer and as raw material in the chemical industry.

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