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Bureau of Geology News

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Hot Springs High School science students visit our analytical chemistry laboratory Socorro, NM
March 23, 2022

Earlier this month, Hot Springs High School (HSHS) science students visited the analytical lab at the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources as part of a regional education outreach water project. Environmental science teacher Sergio Torres brought students to the NMBGMR to learn about the chemical analysis of water, well measurements and geothermal studies. Students brought municipal and hot spring water samples from Truth or Consequences for analysis. HSHS student Sarah Wyatt contributed the following article to the Sierra County Sentinel newspaper about this visit. Later this spring, these HSHS students will meet with NMT professor Michael Schaefer to review their water data. Thanks, laboratory manager Bonnie Frey, for coordinating this excellent educational experience for high school students!

See our Facebook post for more photgraphs and a newspaper article in the Sierra County Sentinel for more information about these students and their project.

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Earthquake near Socorro!
January 25, 2022

On January 25, 2022 at approximately 2:03 PM local time, a magnitude 2.6 earthquake occurred just north of Socorro, NM. The earthquake was felt by numerous local residents and was recorded on seismometers operated by the New Mexico Tech Seismological Observatory.

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Wolfgang Elston posthumously honored with a crater name on Mars
January 19, 2022

Wolfgang Elston (1928-2016), longtime professor of geology at UNM, was posthumously honored with a crater on Mars named after him. Elston's geological career began with a fellowship from the NM Bureau of Mines (now Geology) & Mines to map the Dwyer Quadrangle between Deming and Silver City. This led to PhD research in the area and the recognition many of the volcanic rocks were ignimbrites from massive calderas.

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Rio Chama guidebook wins Southwest Book Design awards
December 9, 2021

The Bureau’s latest book The Rio Chama - A River Guide to the Geology and Landscapes is now an awarding winning publication! The New Mexico Book Association announced the winners for the 2021 Southwest Book Design Awards last week. The guidebook won for best design in two categories: Guidebooks, and Scholarly &Technical.

Rockslide closes road near Los Alamos
December 2, 2021

A small rockfall occurred on December 1st just outside of Los Alamos. Thankfully, no one was hurt and the road was re-opened the following day. This event serves to remind us that NM is a geologically active state with associated hazards. The hazards related to steep slopes are wonderfully summarized in the 2020 Winter edition of NM Earth Matters.

If NM geologic hazards are of interest to you, check out the other Earth Matters articles related to sinkholes , induced seismicity and volcanoes.

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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 newspapers 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

On Monday, July 12th, 2021 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.

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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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