New USGS Report Uncovers the Underground Geology Along the Rio Grande

Release Date:

A new U.S. Geological Survey report describes the below ground geology of the Rio Grande transboundary region of New Mexico and Texas, United States, and northern Chihuahua, Mexico.

This collaborative effort with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation provides extensive geologic information about the Rio Grande; the location where groundwater and instream flows supply water for urban, agricultural and industrial uses; and supports recreational and environmental interests.

“Management of surface-water and groundwater resources in the region requires knowledge of the groundwater system, which in turn requires understanding of the structure and properties of aquifers,” said Don Sweetkind, a USGS scientist and author of the new report. “This product shows the extent and characteristics of underground deposits that form the important groundwater aquifer units of the region.”

The digital model is a new compilation of numerous surface and subsurface geologic data that are the result of decades of scientific work in the region. The three-dimensional digital model is critical for studying the groundwater basins of the region. The new report includes digital data from the study area and two animations that allow the model to be explored and visualized by non-specialists.

The study area includes parts of south-central New Mexico, El Paso County, Texas, and northwestern Chihuahua, Mexico. These locations surround the Rio Grande from Caballo Reservoir, New Mexico, for approximately 80 miles southeastward, south of El Paso, Texas.


Perspective View of Subsurface Geologic Framework along the Rio Grande
Perspective view, looking from above to the west, of the study area, including satellite imagery drapedon a digital elevation model (upper image) and the three-dimensional hydrogeologic framework solidmodel (lower image), showing subsurface aquifer units and faults.(Public domain.)