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Research — Geochemistry

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There are 10 projects that match your criteria:
Precursors to Supereruptions at the Valles Caldera, New Mexico
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Matt Zimmerer

Despite recognition as one the most iconic volcanoes on the planet, there is still much to learn about Valles caldera in north-central NM. A new collaboration between researchers at the Bureau and from UT Austin is seeking to understand the events leading up to supereruptions. In particular, the team is studying the Cerro Toledo Formation, a group of volcanic domes and related ashes that erupted between the large caldera forming events at 1.61 and 1.23 million-years-ago.

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Uranium dissolution from dust in bodily fluids
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Many metals can be harmful to humans when they are taken into the body. We often think of drinking water when we think of these sources, however, toxic metals can also be taken into the body as inhaled particles or as part of our food. In this study, dust particles were mixed with one of two simulated lung fluids in an airtight glass reactor (configured as the figure to the right) where the solution was heated to a constant temperature of the standard human body temperatures – 37?C (98.6 ?F) – in a vessel purged with oxygen just before adding the dust sample. The study found that the uranum in some dust samples (and lab standards) dissolved better in one or the other of the fluids and that this phenomenon seemed to be based on the mineralogy and available surface area of the dust and the pH of the fluid.

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Overview of Fresh and Brackish Water Quality - Roswell Artesian Basin
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The Roswell Artesian Basin occupies over 4,000 square miles in the lower Pecos Valley in Chaves and northern Eddy Counties, and is one of the most intensively farmed regions in the state outside the Rio Grande Valley (Welder, 1983; Land and Newton, 2008). The eastern margin of the basin occurs just east of the Pecos River; the northern boundary is approximately defined by Macho Draw north of Roswell; and the southern end of the basin is located at the Seven Rivers Hills north of Carlsbad. The western margin of the basin is not as well-defined, but is usually located west of Roswell on the Pecos Slope near the Chaves-Lincoln County Line. The basin derives virtually all of its irrigation and drinking water from groundwater stored in a karstic artesian limestone aquifer contained within the Permian San Andres and Grayburg Formations, and from a shallow unconfined aquifer composed of Tertiary-Quaternary alluvial material deposited by the ancestral Pecos River. The Roswell Basin has been described by many workers as a world-class example of a rechargeable artesian aquifer system (e.g., Fiedler and Nye, 1933; Havenor, 1968).

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Overview of Fresh and Brackish Water Quality - Raton-Las Vegas Basins
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Northeastern New Mexico is a geologically diverse area that includes the upper Pecos and Canadian river valleys, the eastern margin of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, and the Raton and Las Vegas Basins, two north-trending assymetric structural basins formed during the late Cretaceous-Paleogene Laramide orogeny. The Raton and Las Vegas Basins are separated by igneous intrusive rocks of the Cimarron Arch, near Cimarron, NM. The gently-dipping eastern margins of these basins are defined by the Sierra Grande Arch and the Raton-Clayton volcanic field (Kelley, 2015; Broadhead, 2015).

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Do Martian manganese oxide deposits reveal biosignatures?
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The recent discovery of manganese oxides on Mars suggests more oxygen was present in the Martian atmosphere the originally thought. A pilot project was recently funded by NASA to test the feasibility of discovering biosignatures in manganese deposits on Mars with payload instruments. There are two primary goals for this project; the first is to identify key chemical signatures and second to identify key mineralogical signatures in natural biologic and abiologic manganese materials. The pilot project will focus on three field sites in New Mexico that display features of formation that range from at or near the surface then extend to the deeper subsurface; essentially examining manganese deposits from surface, cave, geothermal springs, finally fossil hydrothermal environments. Should sufficient variation be noted during the pilot project, additional funding to the project will further characterize terrestrial occurrences for comparison to Mars by utilizing rover payload instruments

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Overview of Fresh and Brackish Water Quality - San Luis Basin
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The San Luis Basin is the northernmost and largest basin of the Rio Grande Rift system in New Mexico. Most of the basin is located in Colorado, where it merges to the north with the Upper Arkansas River graben (Grauch and Keller, 2004). The basin is ~150 miles long and 55 miles wide, and has the general form of an east-dipping half graben. Basin-fill material is composed of Tertiary-Quaternary sediments of the Santa Fe Group and late Cenozoic volcanics (Kelley et al., 1976). The basin is bounded to the west by the Tusas and San Juan Mountains and to the east by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the Sangre de Cristo fault zone. The deepest part of the basin is found in the Taos graben, a narrow zone 6 to 18 miles wide adjacent to the Sangre de Cristo mountain front (Grauch and Keller, 2004). The southern part of the basin is occupied by the Taos Plateau, which is composed of Pliocene basalt flows that overlie Santa Fe Group basin fill. The southeastern margin of the basin is defined by the Embudo fault zone, which separates the east-tilted San Luis Basin from the west-tilted Española Basin to the south (Bauer and Kelson, 2004).

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Overview of Fresh and Brackish Water Quality - San Juan Basin
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The San Juan Basin is a large structural basin in northwestern New Mexico that formed during the late Cretaceous-Paleogene Laramide orogeny about 75 million years ago. The basin comprises all or parts of San Juan, McKinley, Rio Arriba, and Sandoval Counties, with a northern portion that extends into southwestern Colorado. The basin is bordered by basement-cored Laramide highlands, including the Nacimiento Uplift to the east, the Zuni Mountains to the south, the Defiance uplift to the west, and the San Juan Mountains in Colorado to the north. Laramide-age monoclines form the remaining boundaries of the basin (Kelley et al., 2014). The San Juan Basin region is a major producer of hydrocarbons, primarily natural gas, and extensive studies of the petroleum geology of the region have been conducted over the past several decades. Basin-wide hydrogeological assessments of the San Juan Basin were conducted by Stone et al. (1983), Craigg et al. (1989; 1990), Kaiser et al. (1994), Kernodle (1996), and Levings et al. (1996). Kelley et al. (2014) conducted a thorough hydrologic assessment of oil and gas resource development of the Mancos Shale in the San Juan Basin, which includes detailed discussions of groundwater salinity in the basin by depth and individual aquifers.

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Overview of Fresh and Brackish Water Quality - EspaƱola Basin
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The Española Basin is one of the northernmost basins of the Rio Grande Rift in New Mexico, and has been subject to extensive investigations in the past several decades (e.g., Kelley, 1978; Manley, 1979; Cordell, 1979; Golombek, 1983; Biehler et al., 1991; Johnson et al., 2008; Grauch et al., 2009). Although the Española Basin has the general form of a west-dipping half-graben, it exhibits a high level of structural complexity, consisting of a series of narrow, deep axial troughs in an otherwise shallow basin (Ferguson et al., 1995). The basin is ~50 miles long and 18 to 40 miles wide, and is linked to the east-dipping Santo Domingo Basin to the south at the La Bajada constriction. The basin is connected to the north with the east-dipping San Luis basin at the Embudo constriction. The Santa Fe Embayment occupies the southeast corner of the basin.

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Overview of Fresh and Brackish Water Quality - Socorro-La Jencia Basins
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The Socorro and La Jencia Basins are located in Socorro Co., New Mexico, and define a transition where the Rio Grande Rift system broadens into a series of parallel basins separated by intra-rift horst blocks (Chapin, 1971). This broadening represents a general southward increase in crustal extension along the Rio Grande Rift (Adams and Keller, 1994). The Socorro Basin is hydraulically connected to rift basins to the north and south by flow-through drainage of the Rio Grande and southward flow of groundwater through alluvial sediments of the Rio Grande valley. By contrast, the La Jencia Basin has no perennial stream drainage (Anderholm, 1983). The two basins are separated by the Socorro Peak-Lemitar Mountains intra-rift horst, which splits the rift into two semi-parallel halves (Chapin, 1971), and restricts groundwater flow between the basins.

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Overview of Fresh and Brackish Water Quality - Albuquerque Basin
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The Albuquerque Basin, also known as the Middle Rio Grande Basin (MRGB; Plummer et al., 2004), is defined by Thorn et al. (1993) to include the Santo Domingo Basin to the north, the Calabacillas and Belen Sub-Basins to the south, and the Hagan Embayment to the northeast. The Albuquerque Basin as thus defined is the second largest basin in the Rio Grande Rift, extending over more than 3000 square miles and containing over 14,000 feet of basin-fill deposits. The basin is bounded to the north by the Jemez Mountains, and to the east by the Sandia, Manzanita, Manzano and Los Piños Mountains. The western margin of the basin is defined by the Ladron Mountains, the Lucero and Nacimiento uplifts, and the Rio Puerco fault zone, a northeast-trending fault belt that separates the Albuquerque Basin from the Colorado Plateau (Plummer et al., 2004).

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