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Research — Water Resources




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A hydrogeologic investigation of Curry and Roosevelt Counties, New Mexico
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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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Development of 3D Aquifer Maps

It is surprising that New Mexico does not have a detailed map of all of the productive and accessible aquifers across the state. In a state with as little as 0.24% of our land surface covered with water (the least in the country!), having detailed maps of our groundwater resources and aquifers, is essential. Some of our neighboring states, like Texas and Colorado, have these maps already available, and are successfully being used to administer and conserve water. We have started a new multi-year project to develop 3D maps of aquifers.

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Estancia Basin is a laboratory for climate research
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Estancia basin meteorological station

Bruce D. Allen, Bureau of Geology field geologist, is studying the hydrology of the playa lakes in the Estancia basin in order to reconstruct major changes in climate that have affected this region in the past. Dr. Allen and researchers from the University of New Mexico have instrumented the playas with a network of meteorological stations and piezometers to track seasonal changes in climate and groundwater flow systems.

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Estimating Groundwater Recharge for the Entire State of New Mexico
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Groundwater is replenished by a process called recharge, where snowmelt and rain infiltrates through the soil and slowly moves through the subsurface to eventually reach an aquifer. Because groundwater recharge defines a limit for the availability of groundwater, estimating recharge for the state of New Mexico is necessary for effective water resource management.

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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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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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Hydrogeologic Study of the Plains of San Agustin and the Alamosa Creek Valley
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Since 2007, the sparsely populated San Agustin Plains has been a controversial basin: a company applied for a permit to pump 54,000 acre-feet per year and to pipe that water to a region outside of the Plains. In 2009, the neighboring watershed to the south, Alamosa Creek — the only perennial stream in the region — faced similar pressure with a mining company exploring for beryllium. In response to these pressures and questions about the hydrogeology of this area, the NM Bureau of Geology began an integrated geologic and hydrologic study of the basins in 2009.

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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 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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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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There are 26 more research projects matching these critera (orderd by title).