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Mimbres Basin Hydrogeology

Mimbres Basin study area
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The NMBGMR is currently researching the hydrogeology of the Mimbres Basin. The initial phase of the project was an intensive campaign of water-level measurements collected across the basin in the spring of 2020. These measurements are a continuation of a groundwater-level measurement program that began in 1910 with data recorded annually, bi-annually, or every 5 years. However, there had been no data collected in this region since 2012. Staff from the NMBGMR were able to measure water levels in 113 of the 169 wells that were measured in 2012.

The second phase of this project is ongoing and includes the analysis of the recently collected data. The new water-level measurements will be used to create current water table maps of the basin and to assess changes in water levels through time. More specifically, the method of spatio-temporal kriging will be employed to more accurately predict water level with time. Regular (spatial) kriging uses the spatial correlation of data points (eg water-levels in wells) distributed in space at essentially one time instant to predict or interpolate values in between the measured values. Spatio-temporal kriging uses time as a third dimension and looks at the correlation of water levels through time at each well, basically the hydrograph, as well as their correlation across space at any one time. Initial stages of analysis suggest that the thousands of data points across the century and the strong regional correlation of water level trends will lead to accurate predictions of water level through time, even at times when no measurements were made. Final results to be published in early 2021.

Funded by Healy Foundation, and the Aquifer Mapping Program.

If you’d like more information, please contact:

Geoff Rawling, Senior Field Geologist
Stacy Timmons, Associate Director for Hydrogeology Programs


Finch, S.T., McCoy, A., and Melis, E., 2008, Geologic controls on groundwater flow in the Mimbres Basin, southwestern New Mexico, in: New Mexico Geological Society Guidebook 59th Field Conference, pp. 189–198.

Hanson, R.T., McLean, J.S., and Miller, R.S., 1994, Hydrogeologic framework and preliminary simulation of ground-water flow in the Mimbres Basin, Southwestern New Mexico: U.S. Geological Survey, Water-Resources Investigations Report 94-4011, 118 p.

Hawley, J.W., Hibbs, B.J.; Kennedy, J.F.; Creel, B.J.; Remmenga, M.D.; Johnson, M.; Lee, M. M.; Dinterman, P., 2000, Trans-International boundary aquifers in southwestern New Mexico, Technical Completion Report prepared for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - Region 6 and the International Boundary and Water Commission - U.S. Section, 126 p.

Kennedy, J.F.; Hawley, J.W.; and Johnson, M.,2000, The hydrogeological framework of basin-fill aquifers and associated ground-water-flow systems in southwestern New Mexico: An overview, in: New Mexico Geological Society Guidebook 51sth Field Conference, pp. 235–244.

Ruybal, C. J., Hogue, T. S., & McCray, J. E. (2019). Evaluation of groundwater levels in the Arapahoe aquifer using spatiotemporal regression kriging. Water Resources Research, 55, 2820–2837.

State of New Mexico, 2017, Southwest Regional Water Plan

Trauger, F.D., 1972, Water resources and general geology of Grant County, New Mexico: New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources, Hydrologic Report 2, 211 p.

White, W.N., 1931, Preliminary report on the ground-water supply of Mimbres Valley, New Mexico: U.S. Geological Survey, Water-Supply Paper 637-B, p. 69-90.

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