Pleistocene Lake Trinity, an evaporite basin in the northern Jornada del Muerto, New Mexico
James T. Neal, Robert E. Smith, and Blair F. Jones

Abstract:

Exploration for a test site in 1974-75 for a military research project led to the somewhat accidental discovery of a previously undescribed sequence of lacustrine evaporites in the northern Jornada del Muerto valley of southern New Mexico. Four boreholes provided the principal subsurface information. Gravity measurements obtained for another military project provided insight on basin shape and origin.
 

The basin name of Trinity is suggested because of the location immediately adjacent to the site of the world's first atomic detonation. Access to this area has been denied to most geologists for more than 30 years and may explain the basin's relative obscurity, even though shore features are visible on satellite imagery. The basin is entirely within White Sands Missile Range, operated by the U.S. Army since World War II. The results reported here are somewhat serendipitous; the data available to document the discovery were obtained for quite different purposes. Nonetheless, a picture has emerged of a small (200 km') Pleistocene lake basin with distinctive hydrochemical attributes, similar to Lake Otero in the Tularosa Basin, yet unlike any other lake in the western United States.


Citation:

  1. Neal, James T.; Smith, Robert E.; Jones, Blair F., 1983, Pleistocene Lake Trinity, an evaporite basin in the northern Jornada del Muerto, New Mexico, in: Socorro region II, Chapin, C. E., New Mexico Geological Society, Guidebook, 34th Field Conference, pp. 285-290.

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