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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.
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 274 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 U.S. Park Service has identified 71 mine features in 7 parks in New Mexico, of which 12 have been mitigated and 34 require mitigation. Additional sites have been reclaimed by the responsible companies and the Superfund program (CERCLA).

The New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources has collected published and unpublished data on the districts, mines, deposits, occurrences, and mills since it was created in 1927 and is slowly converting historical data into a relational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 Roswell Artesian Basin
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The Roswell Artesian Basin is located in the lower Pecos Valley of southeastern New Mexico, on the northern fringe of the Chihuahua Desert. Summers are long and hot and precipitation is sparse, averaging less than 15 inches/year. However, the Roswell Basin is also one of the most intensively farmed areas in the state, the principal crops being alfalfa, cotton, sorghum, chiles and pecans. The Basin derives virtually all of its irrigation water from groundwater stored in a shallow alluvial aquifer and an artesian aquifer formed principally in the San Andres limestone. The Roswell Artesian Basin has been described as a world-class example of a rechargeable artesian aquifer system.

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Geothermal Resources in New Mexico

New Mexico currently utilizes low and intermediate temperature geothermal resources for aquaculture, greenhouses, recreation, district heating, and space heating. In recent years there has been renewed interest in exploring and developing these geothermal resources, and in determining the sustainability of existing resources statewide.

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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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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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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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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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Apache Mesa Rare Earth Elements Deposits
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photograph by Viginia McLemore

The Point Lookout Sandstone on the Jicarilla Apache Reservation in Rio Arriba County contains geological layers called “beach placer deposits”. Beach-placer sandstone deposits are accumulations of dense minerals that form on beaches, or in shallow ocean water. They form by mechanical settling of heavy minerals by the action of waves, currents, and winds. These deposits contain Rare Earth Elements (REE) which are important commodities required to manufacture green technologies, like wind turbines and hybrid/electric cars and are essential in most of our electronic devices, like cell phones and laptop computers.

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Hydrogeology of the Questa Area
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The issues are a gap in regional scientific information for deep and shallow, sediment-volcanic aquifers and surface waters in the Questa area; including sustainable sources of drinking water, sources of water to springs and streams that feed fisheries and discharge to the Rio Grande, the character of natural, background water quality, and possible impacts from mine-related waters.

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