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Research — Hydrogeology

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There are 10 projects that match your criteria:
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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Sacramento Mountains Watershed Study
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This study evaluated the hydrologic effects of tree thinning in a densely forested, high-elevation watershed (>8000 ft) in the Sacramento Mountains. It was a collaborative project between the Bureau of Geology, NM Tech, NM State University, and NM Forest and Watershed Restoration Institute (Highlands University) and funded three graduate students. In 2011, 400 acres of the watershed were thinned. Results can help water and land managers to apply vegetation management methods to maximize groundwater and surface water resources.

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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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Snowy River Passage, Ft. Stanton Cave
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The main objective of this study is to examine hydrogeologic processes in Snowy River Passage by analysis of individual flood events. For a specific flood event, we will measure:

  1. The volume of water that infiltrates downward through the Snowy River streambed
  2. The volume of water that evaporates from the Snowy River stream
  3. The volume of water that discharges at Government Spring

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Water Data Act
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The Water Data Act (NMSA 1978, § 72-4B) marks the first time in New Mexico’s history that a law has been enacted to identify and integrate key water data. In response to this 2019 legislation, the directing agencies including NM ISC, NM OSE, NMED, and EMNRD, as convened by the NMBGMR, are working toward developing an integrated Water Data Service for New Mexico. Multiple working groups have been convened, working to ensure that the data and useful information about the data is findable, accessible, interoperable, and usable for those seeking water information for decision making related to water management and planning – the primary goal of the legislation. The initial data platform can be found at newmexicowaterdata.org as a first data inventory step for this multi-year project.

Project lead: Stacy Timmons

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Hydrogeology of the Placitas Area
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The characterization of the Placitas area hydrology in the late-1990s was an important step for water resource planning and development. Local water levels were declining due to increased population and demand on groundwater supplies, with drought conditions in the mid-1990s. The Bureau of Geology initiated a study in 1997 to characterize the availability and quality of groundwater and surface water resources in the Placitas area. Findings were interpreted with detailed geologic maps and cross sections that supported a hydrogeologic conceptual model of groundwater flow and occurrence. The study was completed in 2002 and has been incorporated into the Placitas Area Development Plan by Sandoval County.

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Overview of Fresh and Brackish Water Quality - Española 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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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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Overview of Fresh and Brackish Water Quality - Estancia Basin
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The Estancia Valley is a relatively flat-floored, closed physiographic basin with internal drainage, occupying ~2,000 square miles in central New Mexico. The valley, most of which lies within Torrance County, is bounded to the west by the Manzano Mountains, to the east by the Pedernal Hills, and to the south by Chupadera Mesa. The northern margin of the basin is less well-defined, merging with a high plateau area in southern Santa Fe County (Meinzer, 1911; Smith, 1957; White, 1994). Highest elevations in the Estancia Valley (>9,000 feet) occur along the western rim of the watershed, on the east flank of the Manzano Mountains. Lowest elevations (~5,900 feet) are found along the central topographic axis of the basin, where a north-south trending series of playas formed by deflation are incised into the valley floor (Bachhuber, 1982). Because the Estancia Valley is a topographically-closed basin, the only outlet for precipitation that falls within the basin boundaries is by evapotranspiration, primarily from the playa lakes.

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Overview of Fresh and Brackish Water Quality - Capitan Reef
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The Capitan Reef is a fossil limestone reef of middle Permian age that is dramatically exposed along the southeast flank of the Guadalupe Mountains in Eddy County, New Mexico, reaching its maximum elevation in west Texas, in Guadalupe Mountains National Park. In New Mexico, the reef serves as the host rock for the Big Room in Carlsbad Cavern. A few miles northeast of Carlsbad Caverns National Park, the reef dips into the subsurface and passes beneath the city of Carlsbad, where it forms a karstic aquifer that is the principal source of fresh water for that community (Land and Burger, 2008). The Capitan Reef continues in the subsurface east and south into Lea County, then south for ~150 miles to its southeasternmost outcrop in the Glass Mountains of west Texas.

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