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Bureau of Geology News

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Bureau of Geology Director Dr. Nelia Dunbar discusses harsh realities of ongoing drought in New Mexico
July 23, 2021

Reporters Scott Wyland of the Santa Fe New Mexican and Theresa Davis of the Albuquerque Journal newspaper wrote detailed news articles about a climate webinar hosted by Dr. Nelia Dunbar, director of the Bureau of Geology at NMT, and Rolf Schmidt-Petersen, director of the Interstate Stream Commission. The pair of scientists discussed the third phase of the 50-year water plan commissioned by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

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Magnitude 4.2 earthquake near Capulin
July 12, 2021

This morning at 9:33AM a magnitude 4.2 earthquake occurred approximately 2 miles east of Capulin, NM. It was followed by a magnitude 3.7 aftershock at 10:06AM. Residents across northern New Mexico felt the shaking. Seismologists at the Bureau of Geology observed the earthquakes on their seismometers, which stream real-time data to the web at can be seen at the NMTSO website. You can also find out more information about this earthquake on the USGS website, where you can fill out a “Did you feel it?” report to help scientists understand the ground shaking from earthquakes.

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KRWG Story Highlights Groundwater Monitoring, Data Collection
July 2, 2021

A story produced by KRWG Public Media at New Mexico State University featured New Mexico Bureau of Geology Hydrogeologist Ethan Mamer and Associate Director for Hydrogeology Programs Stacy Timmons, who discussed a number of programs at the Bureau aimed at gathering water data.

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Geoffrey Rawling
Mimbres Basin Water–table Levels Through Space and Time Mimbres Basin, NM
June 29, 2021

A new method for developing maps of water-tables employed in the Mimbres Basin in southern New Mexico indicates how groundwater pumping and recharge have changed water-table levels through time. Notably, the region from Deming south to Columbus experienced water-level declines of up to 75 feet since 1980, likely a result of pumping for agricultural use.

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Jacob Thacker
Zuni Mountains Tell a Story of Complex Uplift Zuni Mountains, NM
June 28, 2021

Rocks in the Zuni Mountains record two distinct intervals of uplift over the last 80 million years preserved as cooling signatures in apatite mineral grains, according to a new paper published in Tectonics by New Mexico Bureau of Geology Field Geologist Dr. Jacob Thacker and Senior Geophysicist/Field Geologist Dr. Shari Kelley. The initial phase occurred during the Laramide orogeny, a deformation event that affected a wide swath of the western U.S. from 90 to 40 million years ago. The second uplift phase occurred at or after 20 million years ago, maybe as recently as 10 million years ago, and may be the result of convection in the mantle.

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Rocks in Northwestern NM Record Rapid Growth of San Juan Mountains San Juan Basin, NM
June 11, 2021

About 65 million years ago, a river system rapidly depositing sediments eroded off of the San Juan Mountains in Colorado formed the Ojo Alamo Sandstone located in the modern-day San Juan Basin, says a new paper published in Geosphere by New Mexico Bureau of Geology Field Geologist Dr. Kevin Hobbs. The article details how this little-studied unit likely formed as an amalgamation of multiple rivers all depositing predominantly sand carried south from the uplands to the north.

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Bill McIntosh
Director Dunbar wins 2021 NMT Distinguished Research Award
May 9, 2021

The New Mexico Tech 2021 Distinguished Research Award winner is Dr. Nelia Dunbar, Director of the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources. The recipient of the Distinguished Research Award is chosen by a committee of Tech faculty and researchers from a list of candidates nominated by their colleagues.

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“The Geology of Southern New Mexico’s Parks, Monuments, and Public Lands” Wins Award!
September 25, 2020

We are honored to be selected as the winner of the 2020 Southwest Book Design and Production Award for the "scholarly and technical" category for our new guidebook.

The winners were announced September 24, 2020 at a virtual Gala event. The awards recognize quality and creativity in book design and distinction in production.