Unified Interior Regions

Region 7: Upper Colorado Basin

Map of Region 7: Upper Colorado Basin

Map of Region 7:  Upper Colorado Basin

Map Showing USGS/DOI Unified Region 7 and parts of adjoining Regions

Regions L2 Landing Page Tabs

USGS Science Centers in Region 7-Upper Colorado Basin conduct a large number of cooperative and collaborative projects with other agencies and partners. A sampling of those projects are shown below on this web page.

Filter Total Items: 386
Date published: October 4, 2019
Status: Active

Geologic Framework of the Intermountain West

The Geologic Framework of the Intermountain West project was launched with the goal of producing a new digital geologic map database and 3D geologic model of a transect from the Rio Grande rift to the Basin and Range, based on a synthesis of existing geologic maps with new targeted new mapping, subsurface data, and other data sets. This database will integrate disparate map data, resolve...

Date published: September 30, 2019
Status: Completed

Update of North American Airborne Radiometric Survey Data Using Advanced Statistical Techniques and Parallel Computing

The purpose of this project is to update the current gridded products created from the North American airborne gamma ray spectrometry data using new statistical techniques to analyze spatial data and to create higher quality national airborne radiometric grids.

Date published: August 15, 2019
Status: Active

Bear Lake Water Quality

Bear Lake, located approximately 50 kilometers (km) northeast of Logan, Utah, straddles the Utah-Idaho border and is nestled in a graben valley between the Bear Lake Plateau on the east and the Bear River Range on the west (Reheis and others, 2009). Its calcium carbonate type water is a brilliant green-blue color that, in combination with sandy beaches and easy access, draws thousands of...

Date published: August 14, 2019
Status: Active

Groundwater Conditions in Utah

Small amounts of groundwater can be obtained from wells throughout most of Utah, but large amounts that are of suitable chemical quality for irrigation, public supply, or industrial use generally can be obtained only in specific ares. Most wells in Utah yield water from unconsolidated basin-fill deposits, and most are in intermountain basins that have been partly filled with rock materials...

Contacts: Lincoln R Smith
Date published: August 14, 2019
Status: Active

Streamflow Information Program

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) operates and maintains a national network of about 8,000 streamgages (2018) to provide long-term, accurate, and unbiased streamflow information (often called discharge) to meet the multiple needs of many diverse users. Streamflow information is fundamental to national and local economic well-being, protection of life and property, and efficient and effective...

Date published: July 19, 2019
Status: Active

Using Robots in the River: Biosurveillance at USGS streamgages

For more than a decade, researchers around the world have shown that sampling a water body and analyzing for DNA (a method known as eDNA) is an effective method to detect an organism in the water. The challenge is that finding organisms that are not very abundant requires a lot of samples to locate this needle in a haystack.  Enter the "lab in a can", the water quality sampling and processing...

Date published: July 11, 2019
Status: Completed

Digging Into the Past on the Teton Fault

- by Jaime Delano (on site) and Lisa Wald (back in the office)

This was originally posted as a blog on the USGS Natural Hazards Mission Area Facebook page during the paleoseismology fieldwork on the Teton Fault outside of Jackson, Wyoming from September 5-21, 2017.

Date published: July 8, 2019
Status: Active

Concealed Rare Earth Element (REE) Terranes in the Southern Basin and Range Geologic Province

We are working to develop an understanding of the types, sizes, and spatial distribution of rare-earth element (REE) related deposits in the Southern Basin and Range geologic province to help ensure the availability of REEs to industry in the United States. Geologic, geophysical, and geochemical data acquired will be used to develop permissive tracts for REE related deposits and to define...

Contacts: Mark Bultman
Date published: July 2, 2019
Status: Active

Volcanic-related Beryllium Deposits of the US: Geologic Setting, Genesis, and the Potential for Post-Extraction Recovery of By-Product Critical Minerals

Project objectives are: 1) to fully establish a comprehensive and robust geologic and geochemical framework for the occurrence of volcanic-related beryllium (Be) deposits; 2) further our understanding of the fundamental ore processes that lead to formation of volcanogenic beryllium (Be)-boron (B)-lithium (Li)-phosphorus (P) group deposits, by investigating processes favorable for enhanced...

Contacts: Nora Foley
Date published: June 28, 2019
Status: Active

Seismic Seiches

Definition of seismic seiches and examples dating back to their first public mention in 1755.

USGS Science Centers in Region 7-Upper Colorado Basin collect a wide variety of natural resource data types including spatial, geologic, hydrologic, and biologic data. Data included in USGS-series publications that are not publically available in USGS databases are published in Data Releases. Tools are USGS products that can be used to analyze those types of data.

Filter Total Items: 279
Date published: August 24, 2020

Data from a sequential selective dissolution method to quantify storage and stability of organic carbon associated with Al and Fe hydroxide phases

Stabilization of SOM (soil organic matter) is regulated in part by sorption and desorption reactions happening at mineral surfaces, as well as precipitation and dissolution of organo-metal complexes. Fe and Al hydroxides play a particularly significant role in SOM stabilization in soils due to their ubiquitous distribution and their highly reactive surface properties. Iron and Al hydroxides...

Date published: August 19, 2020

Digital subsurface data of Mesozoic rocks in the Upper Colorado River Basin in Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico from USGS Regional Aquifer System Analysis

The Upper Colorado River Basin has a drainage area of about 113,500 square miles in western Colorado, eastern Utah, southwestern Wyoming, northeastern Arizona, and northwestern New Mexico. In the 1980’s and 1990’s, the Upper Colorado River Basin was a study area under of the U.S. Geological Survey's Regional Aquifer-System Analysis (RASA) program (Sun and Johns

Date published: July 30, 2020

Data release for Linking land and sea through an ecological-economic model of coral reef recreation

Coastal zones are popular recreational areas that substantially contribute to social welfare. Managers can use information about specific environmental features that people appreciate, and how these might change under different management scenarios, to spatially target actions to areas of high current or potential value. We explored how snorkelers’ experience would be affected by sepa

Date published: June 16, 2020

Tracking disturbance and inundation to identify wetland loss

Global trends in wetland degradation and loss have created an urgency to monitor wetland extent, as well as track the distribution and causes of wetland loss. Satellite imagery can be used to monitor wetlands over time, but few efforts have attempted to distinguish anthropogenic wetland loss from climate-driven variability in wetland extent. We present an approach to concurrently track land c...

Date published: April 10, 2020

Modeling bird species richness for the southeastern United States (2001, 2006, and 2011)

These datasets are the inputs, script, and output of bird species richness modeling for the southeastern United States in the years 2001, 2006, and 2011 using general joint attribute modeling (GJAM). Inputs include environmental predictor variables for Breeding Bird Survey routes, bird counts from Breeding Bird Survey observations, and environmental predictor variables on a half-

Date published: April 10, 2020

Supply of and demand for wild pollinator habitat in the Southeast United States

Wild insect pollination has significant positive effects on pollinator-dependent crop production. To assess the spatial distribution of potential wild insect pollination, we mapped the supply of potential wild pollinator habitat (forest, grassland, wetland, and shrubland land cover types) and the demand for pollination (directly pollinator-dependent crops). A foraging travel

Date published: April 10, 2020

Supply of and demand for water purification of nonpoint source pollutants in the Southeast United States

Natural land cover can remove pollutants from runoff water by slowing water flow and physically trapping suspended particles. We identified natural land cover in the Southeast US potentially contributing to water purification due to its location in the flowpath between sources of nonpoint-source pollution and waterways.

Date published: April 10, 2020

Recreational birding in the Southeast United States

Total recreational birding activity (by state and year) estimated by the National Survey for Fishing, Hunting, and WIldlife-Associated Recreation was spatially distributed using birding observations reported through the eBird citizen science database and summarized by land cover type for each analysis year (2001, 2006, and 2011).

Date published: April 10, 2020

Total ecosystem carbon storage in the Southeast United States

Carbon storage by ecosystem type and protection status was derived from total ecosystem carbon estimates provided by Sleeter et al. 2018 and used to estimate terrestrial carbon storage in developed, forested, shrub/scrub, grassland/herbaceous, and agricultural land in the Southeast United States. It does not include estimates for wetland carbon storage.

Date published: March 23, 2020

Data release for Geologic Map of the Homestake Reservoir 7.5' quadrangle, Lake, Pitkin, and Eagle Counties, Colorado

The Homestake Reservoir 7.5' quadrangle lies at the northwestern end of the Upper Arkansas Valley, and headwaters of the Arkansas River, and the Roaring Fork, Fryingpan, and Eagle Rivers of the Colorado River system. The quadrangle lies within tectonic provinces of the 1.4 Ga Picuris Orogeny, the late Paleozoic Ancestral Rockies, Late Cretaceous-Paleocene Laramide orogeny, Oligo

Date published: March 19, 2020

Uranium-, thorium-, strontium-, carbon- and oxygen-isotope data used to evaluate a 300,000-year history of water-table fluctuations at Wind Cave, South Dakota, USA — scale, timing, and groundwater mixing in the Madison Aquifer

Tables of U- and Th-isotopic data used to calculate uranium-series age estimates and initial 234U/238U activity ratios as well as 87Sr/86Sr, δ13C, and δ18O for samples of phreatic speleothems from Wind Cave National Park and U- and Sr-isotopic compositions of waters from the southern Black Hills of South Dakota, USA

Date published: March 11, 2020

Data Release for Geologic Map of Petroglyph National Monument and Vicinity, Bernalillo County, New Mexico

This geologic map depicts and briefly describes geologic units underlying Petroglyph National Monument and immediately adjacent areas in Bernalillo County, New Mexico. The Monument is underlain dominantly by Quaternary basalts of the Albuquerque Volcanoes volcanic field, a series of basin-filling volcanic flows and associated vents from a monogenetic volcanic highland along the eastern margin...

USGS Science Centers in Region 7-Upper Colorado Basin produce hundreds of USGS-series publications, journal papers, and books each year that are subject to rigorous review by USGS specialists. The publications shown below on this page are related to study areas and staff members of USGS Science Centers in Region 7 compiled from the USGS Publications Warehouse.

Filter Total Items: 5,264
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Year Published: 2021

A reactive transport approach to modeling cave seepage water chemistry I: Carbon isotope transformations

The majority of Critical Zone research has emphasized silicate lithologies, which are typified by relatively slow rates of reactivity and incongruent weathering. However, the relatively simpler weathering of carbonate-dominated lithology can result in secondary mineral deposits, such as speleothems, which provide a long-term archive for Critical...

Druhan, Jennifer; Lawrence, Corey; Covey, Aaron; Giannetta, Max; Oster, Jessica

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Year Published: 2021

A reactive transport approach to modeling cave seepage water chemistry II: Elemental signatures

Karst systems are useful for examining spatial and temporal variability in Critical Zone processes because they provide a window into the subsurface where waters have interacted with vegetation, soils, regolith, and bedrock across a range of length and timescales. These hydrologic pathways frequently include the precipitation...

Oster, Jessica; Covey, Aaron; Lawrence, Corey; Giannetta, Max; Druhan, Jennifer

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Year Published: 2021

Assessment of undiscovered conventional oil and gas resources in the eastern Mediterranean area, 2020

Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated undiscovered, technically recoverable mean resources of 879 million barrels of conventional oil and 286.2 trillion cubic feet of conventional gas in the eastern Mediterranean area.

Schenk, Christopher J.; Mercier, Tracey J.; Finn, Thomas M.; Woodall, Cheryl A.; Marra, Kristen R.; Leathers-Miller, Heidi M.; Le, Phuong A.; Drake, Ronald M.
Schenk, C.J., Mercier, T.J., Finn, T.M., Woodall, C.A., Marra, K.R., Leathers-Miller, H.M., Le, P.A., and Drake, R.M., II, 2021, Assessment of undiscovered conventional oil and gas resources in the eastern Mediterranean area, 2020 (ver. 1.1): U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2021−3032, 4 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20213032.

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Year Published: 2021

Preliminary assessment of the wave generating potential from landslides at Barry Arm, Prince William Sound, Alaska

We simulated the concurrent rapid motion of landslides on an unstable slope at Barry Arm, Alaska. Movement of landslides into the adjacent fjord displaced fjord water and generated a tsunami, which propagated out of Barry Arm. Rather than assuming an initial sea surface height, velocity, and location for the tsunami, we generated the tsunami...

Barnhart, Katherine R.; Jones, Ryan P.; George, David L.; Coe, Jeffrey A.; Staley, Dennis M.
Barnhart, K.R., Jones, R.P., George, D.L., Coe, J.A., and Staley, D.M., 2021, Preliminary assessment of the wave generating potential from landslides at Barry Arm, Prince William Sound, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2021–1071, 28 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20211071.

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Year Published: 2021

A bayesian nonparametric approach to unmixing detrital geochronologic data

Sedimentary deposits constitute the primary record of changing environmental conditions that have acted on Earth’s surface over geologic time. Clastic material is eroded from source locations (parents) in sediment routing systems and deposited at sink locations (children). Both parents and children have characteristics that vary across many...

Tipton, John R.; Sharman, Glenn R.; Johnstone, Samuel A.

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Year Published: 2021

Detrital zircon record of magmatism and sediment dispersal across the North American Cordilleran arc system (28-48°N)

As zircon U-Pb geochronology has become a leading method in sediment provenance studies and basin analysis over the past 20 years, the volume of detrital zircon data made available in published literature has enabled researchers to go beyond source-to-sink provenance studies to explore increasingly complex...

Schwartz, Theresa Maude; Surpless, Kathleen D.; Colgan, Joseph P.; Johnstone, Samuel A.; Holm-Denoma, Christopher S.

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Year Published: 2021

Insights on geochemical, isotopic, and volumetric compositions of produced water from hydraulically fractured Williston Basin oil wells

Tracing produced water origins from wells hydraulically fractured with freshwater-based fluids is sometimes predicated on assumptions that (1) each geological formation contains compositionally unique brine and (2) produced water from recently hydraulically fractured wells resembles fresher meteoric water more so than produced water from older...

Gallegos, Tanya J.; Doolan, Colin A.; Caldwell, Rodney R.; Engle, Mark A; Varonka, Matthew S.; Birdwell, Justin E.; Jolly, Glenn D.; Coplen, Tyler B.; Oliver, Thomas A.

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Year Published: 2021

Identifying elusive piercing points along the North American transform margin using mixture modeling of detrital zircon data from sedimentary units and their crystalline sources

The San Gabriel and Canton faults represent early stages in the development of the San Andreas fault system. However, questions of timing of initiation and magnitude of slip on these structures remain unresolved, with published estimates ranging from 42-75 km and likely starting in the Miocene. This uncertainty in slip history reflects an absence...

Gilbert, Clark; Jobe, Zane R.; Johnstone, Samuel A.; Sharman, Glenn R.

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Year Published: 2021

Machine learning to identify geologic factors associated with production in geothermal fields: A case-study using 3D geologic data, Brady geothermal field, Nevada

In this paper, we present an analysis using unsupervised machine learning (ML) to identify the key geologic factors that contribute to the geothermal production in Brady geothermal field. Brady is a hydrothermal system in northwestern Nevada that supports both electricity production and direct use of hydrothermal fluids. Transmissive fluid-flow...

Siler, Drew L.; Pepin, Jeff D.; Vesselinov, Velimir V.; Mudunuru, Maruti K.; Ahmmed, Bulbul

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Year Published: 2021

GIS-based identification of areas that have resource potential for lode gold in Alaska

Several comprehensive, data-driven geographic information system (GIS) analyses were conducted to assess prospectivity for lode gold in Alaska. These analyses use available geospatial datasets of lithologic, geochemical, mineral occurrence, and geophysical data to build models for recognizing different types of gold deposits within physiographic...

Karl, Susan M.; Kreiner, Douglas C.; Case, George N.D.; Labay, Keith A.; Shew, Nora B.; Granitto, Matthew; Wang, Bronwen; Anderson, Eric D.
Karl, S.M., Kreiner, D.C., Case, G.N.D., Labay, K.A., Shew, N.B., Granitto, M., Wang, B., and Anderson, E.D., 2021, GIS-based identification of areas that have resource potential for lode gold in Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2021–1041, 75 p., 9 plates, https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20211041.

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Year Published: 2021

HydroMet: A new code for automated objective optimization of hydrometeorological thresholds for landslide initiation

Landslide detection and warning systems are important tools for mitigation of potential hazards in landslide prone areas. Traditionally, warning systems for shallow landslides have been informed by rainfall intensity-duration thresholds. More recent advances have introduced the concept of hydrometeorological thresholds that are informed not only...

Conrad, Jacob Lawrence; Morphew, Michael D.; Baum, Rex L.; Mirus, Benjamin B.

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Year Published: 2021

Chemical analysis of archived stream-sediment samples, Alaska

Geochemical data are presented for more than 1,500 archived stream-sediment samples and accompanying quality control samples. The archived sediments were reanalyzed to improve the stream geochemical dataset for Alaska and to support ongoing U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) studies. Sediment samples were primarily from the USGS Mineral Resources...

Wang, Bronwen; Case, George N.D.; Granitto, Mathew; Labay, Keith A.; Shew, Nora B.; Ingraham, Andrew D.; Azain, Jaime S.; Bueghly, Zachary C.; Karl, Susan M.; Kelley, Karen D.
Wang, B., Case, G.N.D., Granitto, M., Labay, K.A., Shew, N.B., Ingraham, A.D., Bueghly, Z.C., Azain, J.S., Karl, S.M., and Kelley, K.D., 2021, Chemical analysis of archived stream-sediment samples, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2021–1058, 13 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20211058.

Photos and videos described and linked on this webpage come from a wide variety of USGS science activities and presentations performed by USGS Science Center staff members in the Region 7-Upper Colorado Basin.

Filter Total Items: 524
Kate Wilkins, Hydrologic Technician, floating the Rio Grande in July 2019 during a preliminary sampling trip.
July 18, 2019

Kate Wilkins, Hydrologic Technician, USGS - NMWSC

Photo of Kate Wilkins, Hydrologic Technician, floating the Rio Grande in July 2019 during a preliminary sampling trip

July 1, 2019

Yellowstone Volcano Observatory Monthly Update: July 1, 2019

Mike Poland, Scientist-in-Charge of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, describes activity at Yellowstone during the month of June, 2019.

June 5, 2019

Virtual tour of Glen Canyon between Bullfrog Bay and the Rincon

This animation takes the viewer down the Glen Canyon from Bullfrog Bay to the Rincon, in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. New high resolution multibeam bathymetry collected by the USGS in 2018 shows the submerged portions of Glen Canyon. 

June 3, 2019

Yellowstone Volcano Observatory Monthly Update: June 3, 2019

Mike Poland, Scientist-in-Charge of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, describes activity at Yellowstone during the month of May, 2019.

large boulder with trees growing near it
May 21, 2019

boulder dropped by retreating glacier in Yellowstone National Park

This huge boulder was dropped by a retreating glacier on the north rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone in Yellowstone National Park, and it is a testament to Yellowstone's icy past.

May 10, 2019

Image of the Week - A New Yellowstone Hot Spot

Scientists with the USGS Yellowstone Volcano Observatory use satellite and aerial imagery to map hot springs, geothermal vents, and geysers at Yellowstone National Park. They recently found an entirely new thermal area miles from the nearest trailhead. Landsat 8's thermal infrared sensors captured the change in a nighttime image from April of 2017. Aerial images reveal a

USGS - Water quality sampling in the western Plains of San Agustin
April 10, 2019

Water quality sampling in the western Plains of San Agustin

USGS scientist Mike Carlson works to collect a water quality sample from a windmill in the western Plains of San Agustin. Photo taken by Jeff Pepin on April 10th, 2019.

USGS - stock tank in the western Plains of San Agustin
April 4, 2019

Stock tank in the western Plains of San Agustin

USGS scientist Hal Nelson wades in a stock tank to install a fitting on the discharge pipe of a groundwater well to facilitate water quality sampling in the western Plains of San Agustin. Photo taken by Jeff Pepin on April 4th, 2019. 

Stormwater runoff in the Albuquerque urban area, NMWSC
December 31, 2018

Stormwater runoff in the Albuquerque urban area, NMWSC

Stormwater runoff in the Albuquerque urban area, NMWSC

News items shown on this page are highlights of selected studies conducted and publications produced by USGS Science Center staff members in Region 7-Upper Colorado Basin.

Filter Total Items: 362
Mountain range in Rocky Mountain National Park
January 29, 2021

Fort Collins social scientists collaborated with several federal land management agency partners to publish Resist-Accept-Direct (RAD)—A Decision Framework for the 21st-century Natural Resource Manager. The report presents the RAD decision framework, a tool for land managers.

Fort Collins Science Center and USGS Logo Stock Image
January 13, 2021

Fort Collins Science Center scientists had multiple presentations and poster submissions, as well as one award, at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting 2020. The Meeting was the largest worldwide virtual conference in the Earth and space sciences, with over 20,000 attendees. 

Mill Tailings Pile, Town of Moriah, New York
December 22, 2020

Waste rock from long-closed mines in the eastern Adirondack Mountains, New York, may prove valuable due to its rare earth element content, according to newly published research. The results are from airborne and ground surveys conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey and collaborators.

Invasive brown treesnake
November 5, 2020

For the first time, an invasive brown treesnake population has been found on Cocos Island, an 83.1 acre atoll located 1.5 miles off the southwest coast of Guam.  

Image shows three men in safety equipment standing next to a drill rig
October 29, 2020

The Austin Chalk and Tokio and Eutaw Formations of the Gulf Coast Basin contain a mean of 6.9 billion barrels of oil and 41.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas according to a new assessment by the U.S. Geological Survey. In comparison, the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that the United States used 7.5 billion barrels of petroleum products in 2019.

An infographic summarizing activities of the RAMPS program.
August 10, 2020

This season's edition of the Restoration Assessment and Monitoring Program for the Southwest Newsletter contains recent program highlights including research updates, new projects, field updates and more.

To subscribe to our newsletter, please visit: https://listserv.usgs.gov/mailman/listinfo/ramps

Read more about how the network or RAMPS is enhancing restoration in drylands.

Invasive Burmese Python
July 10, 2020

Washington – Today, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), U.S. National Park Service (NPS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and Conservancy of Southwest Florida announced they have teamed up to radio-track Burmese pythons in Big Cypress National Preserve, Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge and other areas of Southwest Florida.

This page includes links to Social Media accounts (top of page), Science Centers (middle of page), and Regional Office staff members (bottom of page) of the USGS Region 7--Upper Colorado Basin.

USGS Science Centers in Region 7-Upper Colorado Basin conduct a large number of cooperative, co-funded science and monitoring projects with many other Federal, Tribal, State, and local agencies. Please scroll below to see the agencies with which those Science Centers currently have cooperative agreements.

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