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Transient electromagnetic soundings in the San Luis Valley, Colorado, near the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve and the Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge (field seasons 2007, 2009, and 2011)

June 13, 2017

Transient electromagnetic (TEM) soundings were made in the San Luis Valley, Colorado, to map the location of a blue clay unit as well as to investigate the presence of suspected faults. A total of 147 soundings were made near and in Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, and an additional 6 soundings were made near Hansen Bluff on the eastern edge of the Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge. The blue clay is a significant hydrologic feature in the area that separates an unconfined surface aquifer from a deeper confined aquifer. Knowledge of its location is important to regional hydrological models. Previous analysis of well logs has shown that the blue clay has a resistivity of 10 ohm-meters or less, which is in contrast to the higher resistivity of sand, gravel, and other clay units found in the area, making it a very good target for TEM soundings. The top of the blue clay was found to have considerable relief, suggesting the possibility of deformation of the clay during or after deposition. Because of rift activity, deformation is to be expected. Of the TEM profiles made across faults identified by aeromagnetic data, some showed resistivity variations and (or) subsurface elevation relief of resistivity units, suggestive of faulting. Such patterns were not associated with all suspected faults. The Hansen Bluff profile showed variations in resistivity and depth to conductor that coincide with a scarp between the highlands to the east and the floodplain of the Rio Grande to the west.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2017
Title Transient electromagnetic soundings in the San Luis Valley, Colorado, near the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve and the Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge (field seasons 2007, 2009, and 2011)
DOI 10.3133/ds1043
Authors David V. Fitterman
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Data Series
Series Number 1043
Index ID ds1043
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Crustal Geophysics and Geochemistry Science Center