Geology and Geochemistry

The Geology and Geochemistry groups at New Mexico Tech consist of nine regular faculty members and a large number of adjunct faculty. In addition, there are numerous researchers who specialize in geology and geochemistry at the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, which is located on campus. Many of these scientists actively participate in the supervision of graduate and undergraduate student projects.

Economic Geology

The geology of ore deposits has been an important area of research at New Mexico Tech for many years. Studies of ore deposits are carried out in the Earth and Environmental Science Department as well as the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources and in the Department of Mining and Minerals Engineering. There are three faculty whose primary research interests are in the field of ore-deposit research. Many of the studies in the department involve the origins of metallic ore deposits. We have excellent facilities for determining the source, timing, and physical conditions of the ore forming fluids. Campbell and Chavez are currently co-editors of the SEG News Letter for the Society of Economic Geologists.

Geology/geochemistry faculty working on economic geology projects

  • Andrew Campbell: Emeritus (stable isotopes, fluid inclusions, fluid inclusions in opaque minerals, magmatic fluids).
  • Kierran Maher (porphyry systems, stable isotopes,..
  • Ingar F. Walder (massive sulfide deposits, porphyry deposits, mineral alteration, mineral processing)

Department of Mining and Minerals Engineering faculty working on economic geology projects

  • William Chavez (porphyry deposits, supergene enrichment, exploration, ore petrography, ore deposits of Chile).

Ore Deposit Exploration Option

Faults and Fluid Flow

Overview of Our Group Faculty and Graduate Students
Some Publications from the Group Related Links
News on our Facebook page

Sedimentary Geology

Introduction

A number of Geology/Geochemistry faculty and adjunct faculty work on projects related to stratigraphy, sedimentology, and diagenesis. Information about specific research interests can be found on the appropriate faculty page.

 

Faculty & Adjuncts

Current Research

  • Laramide Structure, Basin Evolution, and Regional Tectonics
  • Basin Evolution, Structure, Hydrogeology, and Regional Tectonics of the Rio Grande Rift
  • Late Paleozoic Basins, Structure, and Tectonics in SW U.S.
  • Geology and ydrogeology of the Albuquerque-Rio Rancho Metropolitan Area, Bernalillo and Sandoval County, New Mexico
  • Stratigraphy and Hydrogeology of the Santa Fe Group, Albuquerque Basin, New Mexico
  • Quaternary Stratigraphy of post-Santa Fe Group deposits, Albuquerque Basin
  • Lithologic Logging of Nested Piezometers Completed within the Santa Fe Group, Albuquerque Basin, New Mexico
  • Potassium Metasomatism in the Socorro Area
  • Arsenic as an indicator of groundwater flow
  • Permian Stratigraphy of the Delaware Basin
  • Cretaceous stratigraphy of the San Juan Basin
  • Rock property prediction from 3-D seismic data
  • Secondary Porosity in Soils with Carbonate Clasts (miniature tower-karst pebblescapes), Isleta Reservation
  • Shallow Subsurface Reduction of Fracture Porosity in Carbonates, Isleta Reservation
  • Concretion Formation and Paleo-Groundwater Flow
  • Carbonate Cementation, Fluid Flow, and Permeability Heterogeneity in Alluvial Units and Fault Zones in the Rio Grande Rift
  • Chalk Diagenesis in North Sea Carbonates
  • Diagensis of Permian Carbonates in New Mexico
  • CD-ROM Course on Carbonate Petrography
  • Diagenesis and Stable Isotopic Modeling of Mississippian Carbonates in New Mexico
  • Fluid Inclusion Studies of North Sea and Middle East Carbonates
  • Diagenesis of Permian Carbonates in East Greenland

 

Structural Geology

Introduction

New Mexico Tech has a large and diverse group of people involved in structural research, located in the Department of Earth and Environmental Science, the Department of Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering, and the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources. Interests of this group range from structures developed in metamorphic tectonites to faulting of unconsolidated sediments. Studies are conducted from detailed field work at all scales, modeling, and timing of deformation (fission track analysis and Ar/Ar geochronology). A recent thrust of members of this group has been to look at relationships between faulting and fluid flow in unconsolidated sediments.

New Mexico is, geologically speaking, a very diverse state, and many structural studies are possible within 1-2 hours of New Mexico Tech. Facilities for structural research include: a Starkey X-ray texture camera for complete crystallographic preferred orientations, a structural lab with image analysis facilities for the texture camera, petrographic microscopes, and U-stage, a state of the art automated lab for Ar/Ar geochronology, and a lab for fission track analysis. We recently got a Cameca SX100 Microprobe. Information about specific research interests in structural geology can be found on the appropriate faculty home pages.

We usually have 2 or 3 structurally related seminars per semester in our departmental seminar series. The structure group also meets weekly; in these meetings we discuss such things as our current research, any particular problems we are having in our research (a collective brain-storming session, interesting papers we have read recently, etc.).

The Structurions

Geology & Geochemistry Program

Hydrology Program

  • John Wilson: Professor

New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources

Areas of Research Interest

  • Proterozoic geology of New Mexico
  • Active tectonics
  • Tectonic geomorphology
  • Laramide Tectonics
  • Faults and fluid flow
  • Development of psudotachylyte
  • Time-space evolution of plutons
  • Geomechanics/theoretical studies
  • Experimental deformation
  • Geochronology (including 40Ar/39Ar Geochronology and Fission track dating)

Links to Structural Geology Resources

The Structural Geology Page (by Smith College’s Department of Geology)

Structure and Tectonics Division of the Geological Society of America

Volcanology

New Mexico Tech has has broad interdisciplinary research and teaching interests in volcanology and magmatic systems, both in the Earth and Environmental Science Department and the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources. Many research projects are ongoing within the state of New Mexico as well as around the world (including a historically strong and continuing program in Antarctica). We host a range of analytical facilities (listed below) that are particularly well-suited to geochemical analysis of volcanic products and dating of volcanic eruptions. Opportunities for research projects in volcanology are available at levels ranging from undergraduate through Ph.D.

A large number of volcanic features are readily accessible from the Socorro area. The town sits on the margin of a caldera that produced a large, Oligocene ignimbrite; part of the Mogollon-Datil volcanic field and seismological investigations indicate that a substantial magma body resides in the mid-crust today. The young, basaltic, and extremely well-preserved Carrizozo lava flow is nearby, as is the Valles Caldera, Mount Taylor stratovolcano, the Grants Malpais Volcanic Field, and many other small basaltic and rhyolitic volcanic centers.