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Geophysical data collected during the 2014 minute 319 pulse flow on the Colorado River below Morelos Dam, United States and Mexico

May 9, 2017

Geophysical methods were used to monitor infiltration during a water release, referred to as a “pulse flow,” in the Colorado River delta in March and April 2014. The pulse flow was enabled by Minute 319 of the 1944 United States–Mexico Treaty concerning water of the Colorado River. Fieldwork was carried out by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Centro de Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior de Ensenada as part of a binational effort to monitor the hydrologic effects of the pulse flow along the limitrophe (border) reach of the Colorado River and into Mexico. Repeat microgravity measurements were made at 25 locations in the southern limitrophe reach to quantify aquifer storage change during the pulse flow. Observed increases in storage along the river were greater with distance to the south, and the amount of storage change decreased away from the river channel. Gravity data at four monitoring well sites indicate specific yield equal to 0.32±0.05. Electromagnetic induction methods were used at 12 transects in the limitrophe reach of the river along the United States– Mexico border, and farther south into Mexico. These data, which are sensitive to variation in soil texture and water content, suggest relatively homogeneous conditions. Repeat direct-current resistivity measurements were collected at two locations to monitor groundwater elevation. Results indicate rapid groundwater-level rise during the pulse flow in the limitrophe reach and smaller variation at a more southern transect. Together, these data are useful for hydrogeologic characterization and hydrologic model development. Electronic data files are provided in the accompanying data release (Kennedy and others, 2016a).