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Geologic framework and hydrogeology of the Rio Rico and Nogales 7.5’ quadrangles, upper Santa Cruz Basin, Arizona, with three-dimensional hydrogeologic model

August 8, 2018

Rapid population growth and declining annual recharge to aquifers in the upper Santa Cruz Basin area of southern Arizona, have increased the demand for additional groundwater resources. This demand is predicted to escalate in the future because of higher temperatures, longer droughts, less aquifer recharge, and decreased river and stream base flow. We conducted geologic studies to help evaluate and better understand groundwater resources in the basin. Results of these studies are presented in this report, which summarizes the basin geologic framework and hydrogeology, and presents a threedimensional (3D) hydrogeologic model for the Rio Rico and Nogales 7.5′ quadrangles. Three major hydrogeologic units are displayed in the 3D model; a lower basement confining unit, consisting of Jurassic, Cretaceous, and Tertiary (Paleocene and Oligocene) rocks; a middle unit composed entirely of the Miocene Nogales Formation; and an upper unit consisting of late Miocene to Holocene surficial deposits. The Nogales Formation and the late Miocene to Holocene sediments are the main aquifers in the upper Santa Cruz Basin. The 3D model integrates the hydrogeologic units and faults to define the geometry, structure, and thickness of the aquifer system that provides water to Nogales and surrounding communities of southernmost Arizona. The report includes an EarthVision 3D Viewer, consisting of software enabling the user to view data interactively in 3D space to help explain the internal complexities of the basin geometry, structure, stratigraphy, and hydrology. The 3D model is a synthesis of geologic data from geologic maps, cross sections, and lithologic descriptions and interpretations; and geophysical data including gravity, magnetic data, and airborne electromagnetic data.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2018
Title Geologic framework and hydrogeology of the Rio Rico and Nogales 7.5’ quadrangles, upper Santa Cruz Basin, Arizona, with three-dimensional hydrogeologic model
DOI 10.3133/sir20185062
Authors William R. Page, Mark W. Bultman, D. Paco VanSistine, Christopher M. Menges, Floyd Gray, Michael P. Pantea
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Scientific Investigations Report
Series Number 2018-5062
Index ID sir20185062
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center