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Alex Rinehart

Alex measuring gravity
New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources
801 Leroy Place
Socorro, NM 87801

Office: Bureau 359
Phone: 575-835-5067
Fax: 575-835-6333

Dr. Alex Rinehart is a hydrogeologist in the Aquifer Mapping Program at the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources. His research interests center around unexpected intersections between water science, and Quaternary geology, geophysics, data mining and rock mechanics.

After graduating with a B.S. in mathematics from the University of New Mexico in 2004, he completed a M.S. in hydrology focused on snow at New Mexico Tech in 2008. Between 2008 and 2011, he began a Ph.D. in Quaternary paleoclimate using soil climate proxies; this involved digging many holes in the desert, which he misses.

Late in 2011, he found work as a full-time graduate student intern at Sandia National Laboratories. Once again, he changed his research focus to work on experimental rock mechanics in support of carbon capture and storage projects, nuclear waste repository science, and geothermal science. He primarily performed experiments to understand how rocks deform as they fracture and fail. In the laboratory, he led two major custom control and data acquisition equipment builds. He also developed methods of performing automated analysis of large (greater than 30 GB, or 50,000 events) acoustic emissions datasets. In 2015, He completed his Ph.D. in geophysics at New Mexico Tech (supported by Sandia National Laboratories).

Concurrently with his research at Sandia, he worked with Dave Love at the New Mexico Bureau of Geology on mapping a feature-challenged quadrangle in the southeastern Albuquerque basin. Both the work at the Bureau and at Sandia ignited his passion to work on problems that society cares about, while reinforcing his love of basic geoscience.

Immediately after earning his Ph.D., he was hired by the Bureau as a hydrogeologist in the Aquifer Mapping Program. Since December 2014, he has worked on a range of projects, including statewide data analysis of aquifer storage change, the hydrogeology of the San Agustin Plains, outcrop and section descriptions of major aquifer-bearing formations in the Rio Grande rift, and time-lapse and regional gravity measurements. He has continued to work with collaborators at Sandia National Laboratories on understanding the scaling of controls on strength and compliance in shales and other rocks.


Current Projects

  • Statewide assessment of groundwater storage changes in alluvial aquifers
  • Hydrogeology of eastern San Agustin Plains and Upper Alamosa Creek
  • Using time-lapse microgravity surveys to understand hydrologic patterns
  • Statewide assessment of groundwater recharge
  • Quaternary geology and geomorphology of the southern Albuquerque basin
  • Linking microlithofacies to macroscopic rock properties in the Mancos Shale

See Publications and full CV