Mesilla Basin Microgravity Survey to Measure Aquifer Changes

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Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey and the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources will determine changes in the amount of groundwater stored in the Mesilla Basin aquifer in and around Las Cruces by precisely measuring differences in the acceleration of gravity at several locations the week of January 18.

Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey and the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources will determine changes in the amount of groundwater stored in the Mesilla Basin aquifer in and around Las Cruces by precisely measuring differences in the acceleration of gravity at several locations the week of January 18.

“The objective of this study is to measure the effects of surface water from rivers and streams on aquifer storage and to increase our understanding of local aquifer properties” said Andrew Robertson, USGS scientist. “This information may help water managers make informed choices about this finite resource.”

The change in aquifer storage is an important component of the water budget. The microgravity survey will be repeated throughout 2016.

The microgravity survey is part of a larger, long-term hydrologic monitoring program. The Mesilla Basin monitoring program is a cooperative effort between the USGS, the City of Las Cruces Utilities the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer, Interstate Stream Commission, New Mexico Environment Department, International Boundary and Water Commission, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and New Mexico State University. More information is available on this program website.