Delineating the Rattlesnake Springs, New Mexico Watershed Using Shallow Subsurface Geophysical Techniques and Geologic Mapping
Rattlesnake Springs serves as the sole water source for Carlsbad Caverns National Park. The recent development of oil and gas leases and agricultural lands surrounding the springs has led to concern about contamination of the karst aquifer. We have used geophysical techniques, combined with geologic mapping, to delineate possible fracture systems in the gypsum and carbonate bedrock that feed the spring system. Our initial work has focused on a 700 m by 700 m region surrounding the springs. We conducted a series of ground conductivity surveys with follow-up DC resistivity surveys (Wenner array vertical electrical soundings and a pole- pole survey) to determine variations in soil grain size and moisture content. Surface geologic mapping was used to identify a series of Holocene terraces and valleys that incise the terraces. Our combined results suggest that northwest-southeast and north-south trending fractures and dissolution features control regional water flow. Relict spring valleys are found to the west of the present springs. A pole-pole survey conducted around the perimeter of the springs suggests main water flow into the springs occurs from the northwest. We plan to complete a precision gravity survey in September and October 2007 to map bedrock topography and determine its relation to structural and dissolution features. Ground penetrating radar data will be collected on the northwestern side of the springs in an attempt to better delineate structures controlling inflow into the springs.
AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts
- Pub Date:
- December 2007
- 0925 Magnetic and electrical methods (5109);
- 1824 Geomorphology: general (1625);
- 1879 Watershed