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Bureau of Geology News

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Earth Science Week
September 26, 2022

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham proclaimed October 9-15 "Earth Science Week" in New Mexico.

In celebration at the the Bureau of Geology, our staff will present a series of radio spots on KUNM 89.9 FM at 7pm, Monday-Friday. The theme for these spots this year is: "Earth Science for a Sustainable World."

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Ben Banet
New paper published on the relationship between deformation and magmatism in volcanic arcs by bureau geologist Snir Attia
September 26, 2022

A new paper in Geosphere authored by bureau geologist Snir Attia focuses on the relationship between deformation and magmatism in the rock record of a Cretaceous volcanic arc preserved in the central Sierra Nevada of eastern California. Using a new tectonic reconstruction and structural synthesis based on decades of mapping, field data, and structural observations as well as hundreds of zircon U-Pb rock ages, this paper paints a new picture that is significantly different than previously thought.

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Minerals and Fluids Camp provides exposure to geoscience labs, field work, and modeling Socorro, NM
July 29, 2022

A weeklong summer camp at New Mexico Tech recently provided a venue for undergraduate students from New Mexico and other states to be exposed to research, field work, and lab opportunities related to geochemistry and minerals, especially rare earth elements. The Minerals and Fluids Summer Camp, offered July 25 to 29, 2022, was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to promote science and educational opportunities for students traditionally underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and math.

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Bureau seismologist Mairi Litherland discusses NM earthquakes for KRQE story
June 29, 2022

New Mexico Bureau of Geology & Mineral Resources seismologist, Mairi Litherland, was interviewed by Curtis Segarra from KRQE for a story about earthquakes in New Mexico. Dr. Litherland manages the New Mexico Tech Seismic Observatory. In the article, she explains how most of the earthquakes in NM are associated with extension along the Rio Grande rift. However, there has been a substantial increase in seismicity in southeast NM that is related to petroleum extraction. In particular, the disposal of of produced water via injection into deep wells has triggered many earthquakes in the region.

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REE-Bearing Cambrian-Ordovician Episyenites and Carbonatites in Southern and Central New Mexico, USA: new paper co-authored by several bureau researchers
June 14, 2022

Brick-red, K-feldspar-rich episyenites and carbonatites are found throughout New Mexico that contain anomalous concentrations of rare earth elements. Modern technology increasingly relies on rare earth elements (REE), which are now considered as critical minerals. This new paper discusses the geololgy, geochemistry, and gechronology of these important and interesting rocks.

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New paper on the build-up to climactic supervolcano eruptions co-authored by bureau geologist Matt Zimmerer
June 2, 2022

A new paper in GEOLOGY co-authored by bureau geologist Matt Zimmerer focuses on the build-up to climactic supervolcano eruptions. Using more than a decades worth of radiometric dates generated in the bureau's geochronology lab, in combination with mapping by the USGS, researchers discovered a pattern in the small-volume eruptions that predate larger-volume caldera-forming eruptions. This work shows that prior to supervolcanic eruptions many volcanic fields enter a period of reduced activity for ~500,000 to 2-million-years. During this time, magma accumulates (rather than erupts) into the large volume reservoirs that ultimately lead to a supereruption. Although the study focused on extinct volcanoes in southern Colorado, the work has important implications for young volcanic systems that are currently in dormant periods of activity, such as NM’s Valles caldera.

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Stacy Timmons interviewed for "Searchlight New Mexico" article
January 13, 2022

Stacy Timmons, associate director for hydrogeology at the Bureau, weighs in on the importance of groundwater monitoring and water data. Click on the headline or photo to access the full article.