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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.
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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Hydrogeology of the Albuquerque Basin
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The Albuquerque Basin is one of the largest (8,000 km2, 3,060 mi2) and deepest basins (4,407-6,592 m, 14,500-21,600 ft) of the Rio Grande rift. This basin contains the largest metropolitan area in New Mexico. Until 2008, this region relied entirely on groundwater for its water supply. This sole reliance on groundwater resulted from an earlier view that Albuquerque lay on top of the subterranean equivalent of a vast underground lake that would take centuries to exploit. Since the 1960s, the City of Albuquerque had little reason to be concerned about its water supply because wells drilled in the northeast and southeast heights yielded large quantities of potable groundwater. The view of plentiful groundwater was essentially unchallenged until the late 1980s, when water level declines near Coronado Center provoked exploration of the deeper aquifer. Results of the deep aquifer test wells led to reassessment of the regional aquifer and the Middle Rio Grande Basin Project of the late 1990s.

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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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Hydrogeology of the Española Basin & Santa Fe Area
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The southern Española Basin, in the Santa Fe region, was the focus of a multi-year, multi-disciplinary hydrogeologic study by the Aquifer Mapping Program, in collaboration with the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer (NMOSE), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and other agencies. The purpose of this study was to improve the understanding of the water resources within the basin, which serves as the primary source of drinking water for most of the area’s population.

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Hydrogeology of the Eastern Tularosa Basin
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Desalinated brackish water has been discussed in New Mexico as a possible alternative supply for drinking water. The communities of Tularosa and Alamogordo continue to explore using brackish water as a municipal water supply, and plans are quite advanced toward production. The communities in this region are actively seeking information to insure protection of fresh water supplies while implementing the use of alternate source water sources - brackish groundwater.

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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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Alteration and Epithermal Mineralization in the Steeple Rock District, Grant County, New Mexico and Greelee County, Arizona
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The Steeple Rock district in the Summit Mountains in southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona offers an excellent opportunity to examine the relationship between the distribution and timing of the alteration and the formation of fissure veins in an epithermal environment. Five distinct types of epithermal veins occur in the district: base metals with gold-silver, gold-silver, copper-silver, fluorite, and manganese. These epithermal veins are structurally controlled, are hosted by Oligocene to Miocene volcanic and intrusive rocks, and are spatially associated with two types of alteration: neutral pH (alkali chloride or propylitic to argillic to sericitic) and acid sulfate (advanced argillic). Neutral pH alteration is the most pervasive type of alteration in the district and occurred in three stages: regional pre-mineralization, local syn-mineralization, and regional post-mineralization.

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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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Long Term Groundwater Monitoring in the Animas Valley
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Our agency has been collaborating with the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) on a hydrogeology study along the Animas River in New Mexico in response to the Gold King Mine spill, which occurred in August 2015. The water released from the spill was loaded with dissolved metals and contaminated sediments, which posed a possible risk to groundwater quality in the Animas Valley.

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Hydrogeologic Assessment of the Village of Magdalena
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On June 5, 2013, the Village of Magdalena had concerns that their primary pumping well was not functioning properly. In reaction to the Magdalena village well problems, broad community concern developed regarding the present groundwater conditions. To help address this concern, the Bureau of Geology and its Aquifer Mapping Program (with the New Mexico Environment Department), commenced a small-scale hydrogeologic assessment. The Bureau’s resources were onsite and available for geologic and hydrologic information and technical support in the region in the summer of 2013.

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