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Research — Water Resources

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There are 10 projects that match your criteria:
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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Overview of Fresh and Brackish Water Quality - Jornada del Muerto Basin
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The Jornada del Muerto is a north-south trending basin lying to the east of the main Rio Grande Rift system in Socorro, Sierra, and Doña Ana Counties, New Mexico. The basin is ~160 miles long, averages 20 miles in width, and deepens to the south. The basin is bounded to the east by Chupadera Mesa and the Oscura and San Andres Mountains, and to the west by the Caballo and Fra Cristobal Mountains and the San Pasqual Platform. The south end of the Jornada del Muerto Basin merges imperceptibly with the northeast end of the Mesilla Basin. Unlike the Rio Grande Rift basins to the west, the Jornada del Muerto is a broad syncline that plunges to the south-southeast, formed between east-dipping Paleozoic and Mesozoic strata along the Caballo-Fra Cristobal Uplift and west-dipping Paleozoic strata in the San Andres Mountains. The basin is thus not part of the late Tertiary Rio Grande Rift extensional system, and Santa Fe Group basin-fill sediments are generally less than 350 feet thick (Chapin, 1971; Lozinsky, 1987; Roybal, 1991). The Jornada Draw fault zone runs from north to south and roughly parallels the hinge of the syncline. This fault zone significantly affects the groundwater system in the central part of the basin (Newton et al., 2015).

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Mapping suitability for Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) in the Albuquerque Basin
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An aquifer can be considered like a bank account. The deposits or credits typically consist of natural recharge adding water to the aquifer (like precipitation or river water seeping into the ground and reaching the groundwater table). Withdrawals take water out of the aquifer, and can include discharge into rivers or pumping of wells. Most cities are concerned with the withdrawal side of the equation and hope nature takes care of the deposits. But Albuquerque has undertaken the progressive measure of inputting additional recharge (deposits) now so there will be sufficient water for future withdrawals, something called managed aquifer recharge (MAR). To that end, the Albuquerque and Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority (ABCWUA) has recently completed a well for deep injection of excess river water into the aquifer, and is currently running surface water down the upper part of Bear Canyon Arroyo for near-surface recharge.

The work is funded by the ABCWUA and conducted by Dan Koning (P.I.), Colin Cikoski, Andy Jochems, and Alex Rinehart (now at NMT EES). The results have been released as Open-file Report 605 and as a summary Fact Sheet.

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Overview of Fresh and Brackish Water Quality - Mimbres Basin
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The Mimbres Basin is a structurally complex region in southwestern New Mexico, extending over an area of more than 5,000 square miles in parts of Grant, Luna, Doña Ana and Sierra Counties, and straddling the border with the Mexican Republic. The region has been subject to extensive geologic, geophysical, and hydrologic investigations over a period of almost a century, including Darton (1916), White (1931), Trauger (1972), Hanson et al. (1994), Hawley et al. (2000), and Kennedy et al. (2000). The Mimbres Basin is located at the intersection of the Basin and Range, southern Rio Grande Rift, and southern Transition Zone tectonic provinces (Mack, 2004). Dominant structural features in the region are northwest trending faults and folds associated with the Laramide orogeny, Tertiary magmatism and Quaternary tectonism (Finch et al., 2008). The greater Mimbres Basin is made up of an interconnected group of hydrologic sub-basins separated by fault-bounded uplifts, bounded to the east by the Goodsight Mountains, Sierra de las Uvas, and basalt flows and cinder cones of the West Potrillo Mountains. The Continental Divide defines the northern and western boundaries of the Mimbres Basin. The only major surface drainage in the basin is the Mimbres River (Hawley et al., 2000; Connell et al., 2005; Finch et al., 2008).

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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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Hydrogeology of Central Jornada Del Muerto: Implications for Travel along El Camino Real De Tierra Adentro, Sierra and Doña Ana Counties, New Mexico
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Between 1598 and the 1880s, El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro (El Camino Real) served as a 1,600 mile long trade route between Mexico City and San Juan Pueblo/Ohkay Owingeh, New Mexico (north of Santa Fe). El Camino Real transects the Jornada del Muerto, located in southern New Mexico (see below figure). This stretch of the trail is thought to have been one of the most feared sections along El Camino Real due, primarily, to the scarcity of water.

The study area is located primarily in the central portion of the Jornada del Muerto Basin, extending from just North of Engle to just south of Point of Rocks and spanning the entire basin from the Caballo Mountains in the west to the San Andres Mountains to the east.

We characterized the local geology and hydrogeology of the central Jornada del Muerto with a purpose of identifying features that likely influenced the location of El Camino Real de Tierro Adentro. This study aimed to assess the relationship between the location of the trail and parajes (campsites) and water sources that would be available to travelers on the trail. The study was funded by the New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) and is the fulfillment of one of the measures specified in a mitigation plan that identifies a series of measures specifically intended to mitigate adverse effects to El Camino Real.

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Hydrogeology of the Questa Area
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The objective of the study was to characterize and interpret the shallow (to a depth of approximately 5,000 ft) three-dimensional geology and preliminary hydrogeology of the Questa area. The focus of this report is to compile existing geologic and geophysical data, integrate new geophysical data, and interpret these data to construct three, detailed geologic cross sections across the Questa area. These cross sections can be used by the Village of Questa to make decisions about municipal water-well development, and can be used in the future to help in the development of a conceptual model of groundwater flow for the Questa area. Attached to this report are a location map, a preliminary geologic map and unit descriptions, tables of water wells and springs used in the study, and three detailed hydrogeologic cross sections shown at two different vertical scales. The locations of the cross sections are shown on the index map of the cross section sheet.

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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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Monitoring the recovery of Santa Fe's Buckman Water Well Field
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High-production municipal water well fields can depress water levels, cause land subsidence, and disturb subsurface aquifer temperatures. As an example, the City of Santa Fe’s Buckman well field located along the Rio Grande, was pumped at high rates from 1989 to 2003. This high-rate pumping led to a precipitous drop in water level (>100 m), caused measureable ground subsidence over a 25 km2 area (based on 1995-1997 InSAR [satellite-based] data), and created a land-surface fissure with 20 cm of vertical displacement. Pumping rates were reduced after 2003 and water levels have since risen ~120 m.

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Overview of Fresh and Brackish Water Quality - San Marcial-Engle Basins
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The San Marcial and Engle Basins are axially-linked basins of the southern Rio Grande Rift system that connect the Socorro Basin with the Palomas Basin to the south (Connell et al., 2005). The Engle Basin is an east-tilted half graben containing ~2,000 feet of basin-fill material. Compared to other groundwater basins of the Rio Grande Rift, information specific to these two basins is limited. The compiled data contains only 32 data points for both basins. This very incomplete record indicates water in these basins is relatively fresh, with only four wells exceeding 1000 mg/l TDS.

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