Report Abstract

HYDROGEOLOGY OF CIBOLA COUNTY, NEW MEXICO

By Joe A. Baldwin and Dale R. Rankin

The hydrogeology of Cibola County, New Mexico, was evaluated to determine the occurrence, availability, and quality of ground-water resources. Rocks of Precambrian through Quaternary age are present in Cibola County. Most rocks are sedimentary in origin except for Precambrian igneous and metamorphic rocks exposed in the Zuni Uplift and Tertiary and Quaternary basalts in northern and central parts of the county. The most productive aquifers in the county include (youngest to oldest) Quaternary deposits, sandstones in the Mesaverde Group, the Dakota-Zuni-Bluff aquifer, the Westwater Canyon aquifer, the Todilto- Entrada aquifer, sandstone beds in the Chinle Formation, and the San Andres-Glorieta aquifer.

Unconsolidated sand, silt, and gravel form a mantle ranging from a few inches to 150 to 200 feet over much of the bedrock in Cibola County. Well yields range from 5 to 1,110 gallons per minute. Dissolved-solids concentrations of ground water range from 200 to more than 5,200 milligrams per liter. Calcium, magnesium, bicarbonate, and sulfate are the predominant ions in ground water in alluvial material.

The Mesaverde Group mainly occurs in three areas of the county. Well yields range from less than 1 to 12 gallons per minute. The predominant ions in water from wells in the Mesaverde Group are calcium, sodium, and bicarbonate. The transition from calcium-predominant to sodium-predominant water in the southwestern part of the county likely is a result of ion exchange.

Wells completed in the Dakota-Zuni-Bluff aquifer yield from 1 to 30 gallons per minute. Dissolved-solids concentrations range from 220 to 2,000 milligrams per liter in water from 34 wells in the western part of the county. Predominant ions in the ground water include calcium, sodium, sulfate, and bicarbonate. Calcium predominates in areas where the aquifer is exposed at the surface or is overlain with alluvium.

Sandstones in the Chinle Formation yield from 10 to 300 gallons per minute to wells in the Grants-Bluewater area. In the western part of the county, sodium and bicarbonate predominate in water from the Chinle Formation. In the eastern part of the county, water quality is more variable than elsewhere and the predominant constituents include calcium, sodium, sulfate, and chloride.

Well yields from the San Andres-Glorieta aquifer in the Grants-Bluewater area are as much as 2,830 gallons per minute, whereas the maximum recorded pumping rate from the aquifer in other areas of the county is 88 gallons per minute. Dissolved-solids concentrations of ground-water range from about 130 to 4,200 milligrams per liter, and the water generally is a calcium bicarbonate sulfate type.

Abstract from Water-Resources Investigations Report 94-4178



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