Identification of Karst Groundwater Systems in the Pecos River Watershed and Salt Basin, New Mexico

Wednesday, February 24, 2016: 2:00 p.m.
Annie M. McCoy, CPG , John Shomaker & Associates, Inc., Albuquerque, NM
Edward C. Beaumont , Edward C. Beaumont, Inc., Albuquerque, NM
Steven T. Finch Jr. , John Shomaker & Associates Inc., Albuquerque, NM
Roger L. Peery, CPG , John Shomaker and Associates Inc., Albuquerque, NM

Karst features in Permian carbonate rocks make up local and regional groundwater systems responsible for transmitting water through the Pecos River watershed in eastern New Mexico and the adjacent Salt Basin. The extent of the carbonate rocks has been well defined by geologic mapping and well drilling, but the role of karst features in collecting and increasing recharge and conveying groundwater has been poorly understood despite the fact that these features are responsible for conveying hundreds of thousands of acre-feet of water per year. Interpretation of topographic maps and high-resolution aerial photographs has provided new evidence for the location of local and regional karst groundwater systems in the Pecos River watershed and Salt Basin, but there are still large areas of the Pecos River watershed that have not been carefully evaluated and interpreted in this manner. Dissolution sinkholes have been identified in Permian carbonate rocks, collapse sinkholes have been identified in younger bedrock overlying Permian carbonate rocks, and subsidence sinkholes have been identified in unconsolidated alluvium overlying bedrock. Regional-scale “super sinkholes” up to 20 miles across enclosing smaller local-scale sinkholes have been identified. Review of historical aerial photographs and field studies have suggested that some sinkholes fill with water annually while others fill with water several times within a 10-year period. Infiltration rates vary widely depending on permeability of sediments on the floors of the sinkholes, and cavelike openings on the sides and floors of some sinkholes enhance infiltration.

Annie M. McCoy, CPG, John Shomaker & Associates, Inc., Albuquerque, NM
Annie McCoy received her M.S. degree in geology from the University of New Mexico and has been with John Shomaker and Associates for 14 years. She develops regional groundwater flow models and water supply plans, performs water resource and water rights evaluations, and provides hydrogeologic field services.

Edward C. Beaumont, Edward C. Beaumont, Inc., Albuquerque, NM
Edward Beaumont graduated from Pomona College with a B.A. in Geology. He graduated from the University of New Mexico with an M.S. in Geology and immediately went to work for the USGS. Ten years later, he left the USGS and established a consulting geological practice in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He worked primarily in non-metallic minerals exploration, but through the 40-plus years of his professional consulting practice, concentrated mostly on the geology and economics of coal deposits, especially in the San Juan Basin in northwest New Mexico.

Steven T. Finch Jr., John Shomaker & Associates Inc., Albuquerque, NM
Steven Finch Jr. is Vice President and Principal Hydrogeologist-Geochemist at John Shomaker and Associates. He has 23 years of professional consulting experience in the area of technical support for water rights matters, groundwater development, groundwater protection, and applied hydrogeology. Finch has a B.S. in Geology from Sul Ross State University, and an M.S. in Geology from Northern Arizona University.

Roger L. Peery, CPG, John Shomaker and Associates Inc., Albuquerque, NM
Roger Peery has more than 20 years of experience primarily managing water-resource evaluations, water-resource development, and water-supply well projects. He has experience with project management and field supervision of water well and monitor well drilling and construction for water supply wells completed at depths exceeding 3,000 feet, deep-aquifer discrete-interval zone sampling, well development/sampling, infiltration testing, and recovery. Peery has provided sworn expert witness testimony before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission–Atomic Safety and Licensing Board, New Mexico 2nd Judicial Court, and at various State of New Mexico administrative hearings including Office of the State Engineer, Oil Conservation Division, and Environment Department.