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New Mexico Bureau of Geology awarded $70,000 in funding from USGS’s data preservation program

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Aerial view photograph of Ann Lee mine and the Ambrosia mill near Ambosia Lake, NM. Mount Taylor is in the background. Circa Feb. 1958.
Photo courtesy of Bill Chenoweth, U.S. Department of Energy, New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, Historic Photog

— May 14, 2019

The New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources (NMBGMR) has been awarded $70,000 from USGS’s National Geological and Geophysical Data Preservation Program (NGGDPP) for data preservation with a particular focus on rare earth elements (REE). More than $20,000 will go towards providing funding for New Mexico Tech students. This project will begin in August 2019.

Amy Trivitt will be working with students to digitize and put online the geochronological data in Isochron West publications and to preserve historical Homestake Co. mine data. Isochron West was jointly published by the New Mexico and the Nevada Bureaus of Geology between 1970-1981. We received our donated Homestake collection from the the Homestake Company in 2010, following their focus on the Ambrosia Lake area of the Grants Mining district.

Phil Miller will be working with students to convert legacy Bureau geologic maps into the USGS’s GeMs standards. Our data is provided freely to scientists, researchers, and landowners, so these users can learn and understand the geology and the potential hazards present on their lands for little to no expense. Currently, the NMBGMR has 279 digital geologic maps in a Geographic Information System (GIS) data model. Of these maps, approximately 61 of them are in the GeMS data model. The rest are in a GIS data model created within the Bureau before our adoption of the GeMS data model. The funding from NGGDPP will aid us in converting 12-15 more legacy maps to the GeMs format.

Dr. Virginia McLemore will be working with students on a project to create a database of rare earth element (REE) mines, chemical analysis, 2 interactive map layers, and scanning of historical data of REE in several districts. In New Mexico, REE have been produced from a few pegmatite and vein deposits, and exploration has occurred recently in some areas containing carbonatites, episyenites (metasomatic rocks) and REE veins. Through NGGDPP funding we will be able to identify specific REE mines and occurrences in New Mexico, create a database of chemical analyses, available drill core, and other subsurface information, and scanning existing unpublished historical records containing information on REE deposits in New Mexico.