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Candidate-penetrative-fracture mapping of the Grand Canyon area, Arizona, from spatial correlation of deep geophysical features and surficial lineaments

July 31, 2005

Some aquifers of the southwestern Colorado Plateaus Province are deeply buried and overlain by several impermeable shale layers, and so recharge to the aquifer probably is mainly by seepage down penetrative-fracture systems. The purpose of this 2-year study, sponsored by the U.S. National Park Service, was to map candidate deep penetrative fractures over a 120,000-km2 area, using gravity and aeromagnetic-anomaly data together with surficial-fracture data. The study area was on the Colorado Plateau south of the Grand Canyon and west of Black Mesa; mapping was carried out at a scale of 1:250,000. The resulting database constitutes a spatially registered estimate of deep-fracture locations. Candidate penetrative fractures were located by spatial correlation of horizontal-
gradient and analytic-signal maximums of gravity and magnetic anomalies with major surficial lineaments obtained from geologic, topographic, side-looking-airborne-radar, and satellite imagery. The maps define a subset of candidate penetrative fractures because of limitations in the data coverage and the analytical technique. In particular, the data and analytical technique used cannot predict whether the fractures are open or closed. Correlations were carried out by using image-processing software, such that every pixel on the resulting images was coded to uniquely identify which datasets are correlated. The technique correctly identified known and many new deep fracture systems. The resulting penetrative-fracture-distribution maps constitute an objectively obtained, repeatable dataset and a benchmark from which additional studies can begin. The maps also define in detail the tectonic fabrics of the southwestern Colorado Plateaus Province. Overlaying the correlated lineaments on the normalized-density-of-vegetation-index image reveals that many of these lineaments correlate with the boundaries of vegetation zones in drainages and canyons and so may be controlling near-surface water availability in some places. Many derivative products can be produced from the database, such as fracture-density-estimate maps, and maps with the number of correlations color-coded to estimate the possible quality of correlation. The database contained in this report is designed to be used in a geographic information system and image-processing systems, and most data layers are in georeferenced tagged image format (Geotiff) or ARC grids. The report includes 163 map plates and various metadata, supporting, and statistical diagram files.

Publication Year 2005
Title Candidate-penetrative-fracture mapping of the Grand Canyon area, Arizona, from spatial correlation of deep geophysical features and surficial lineaments
DOI 10.3133/ds121
Authors Mark E. Gettings, Mark W. Bultman
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Data Series
Series Number 121
Index ID ds121
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse