Challenges of Basin and Range hydrogeology-examples from Hidalgo County, New Mexico
— William J. Stone


Hydrogeologic studies in basin-and-range country face challenges beyond those normally met in other regions. Challenges to characterizing ground-water occurrence include sparsity of wells in the ranges and stratigraphic variability of the basin-fill aquifers over short distances. Challenges to determining ground-water movement include the sparsity of water-level data in the ranges, the difficulty in analyzing the water balance owing to infrequent but intense runoff events, and the uncertain role of playas in discharge. Challenges to describing ground-water quality include the sparsity of data for the ranges and the impact of mixing with geothermal waters. Challenges to interpreting geologic controls of hydrologic phenomena include the sparsity of wells in the ranges and assessing the role of any Quaternary-lake history in shaping the modem hydrogeologic system. Some of these challenges can be overcome by (1) utilizing alternative data sources, such as mining and petroleum exploration wells in the ranges, (2) collecting long-term data for various water-balance parameters, and (3) modeling the hydrogeologic and hydrochemical system(s).

Full-text (3.18 MB PDF)

Recommended Citation:

  1. Stone, William J., 2000, Challenges of Basin and Range hydrogeology-examples from Hidalgo County, New Mexico, in: Southwest passage. A trip through the Phanerozoic, Lawton, Timothy F.; McMillan, Nancy J.; McLemore, Virginia T., New Mexico Geological Society, Guidebook, 51st Field Conference, pp. 221-225.

[see guidebook]