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FEDMAP Project Summary

Geologic Framework of Rio Grande Basins


To understand how geology influences the availability of ground water and natural resources and tectonic hazards in Rio Grande basins in New Mexico and Colorado.


USGS scientists are working in the Española Basin to understand the 3-dimensional geologic framework that bears on ground-water resources, such as the size and shape of the aquifers, rock types, rock alteration, fault movements, climate change, and volcanism. This geologic information, provided through new geologic maps and geophysical, stratigraphic, and fault studies, will help the local entities (Santa Fe, Espanola, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Pueblo Nations, Santa Fe National Forest) make practical decisions about ground-water removal, including avoiding land subsidence and ground-water contamination. The project, originally requested by the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer, has expanded its strong focus on cooperation and outreach through its leadership of the Española Basin Technical Advisory Group (EBTAG), which represents 11 different organizations. In FY05, the project is beginning a similar research effort in the major aquifer-bearing basin in the San Luis Valley of northernmost New Mexico and southernmost Colorado through cooperation with the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, the Colorado Geological Survey, and several local universities.

Study Area:

Colorado, New Mexico

Anticipated Uses:

Hazards (Landslides), Hazards (Earthquakes), Resources (Water)


Adams State College (CO), American Museum of Natural History (NY), City of Santa Fe (NM), Colorado Department of Natural Resources, Colorado Geological Survey, Costilla County (CO), Grand Valley State University (MI), Jemez y Sangre Water Planning Council (NM), Los Alamos National Laboratory (NM), New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, New Mexico Office of the State Engineer, Santa Fe County (NM), Sierra Grande School (CO), Smithsonian Institution (DC), South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, U.S.D.A./Natural Resources Conservation Service, University of California, Riverside, University of New Mexico, University of Texas at Dallas, University of Texas at El Paso, William Lettis and Associates, Inc.

Project Status:

Current NCGMP Funding

Project Duration:


Duration of NCGMP Funding:


Contact Information:

Project Chief: Mark R. Hudson (Central Earth Surface Processes Team)
Phone: 303-236-7446

Related Links:

Project Website:,