In the Roswell Basin in southeastern New Mexico artesian water is produced from cavernous zones in the carbonate rocks of the San Andres formation and the lower part of the Chalk Bluff formation, both of Permian age. The Hondo Reservoir, 9 miles west-southwest of Roswell, was completed by the U. S. Bureau of Reclamation in 1907, to store waters of the Rio Hondo for irrigation. The project was not successful, as the impounded water escaped rapidly through holes in the gypsum and limestone of the San Andres formation constituting its floor. Of 27,000 acre~feet that entered the reservoir between 1908 and 1913, only 1,100 acre-feet was drawn Ollt for use, the remainder escaping through the floor of the reservoir. Since 1939, plans have been drawn up by the State Engineer and by Federal agencies to utilize the reservoir to protect Roswell from floods. It has also been suggested that water from the Pecos River might be diverted into underground storage through the reservoir. Sinkholes in the Roswell Basin are largely clustered in areas where gypsum occurs in the bedrock. Collapse of strata is due to solution of underlying rock commonly containing gypsum. Domes occur in gypsiferous strata near Salt Creek. The Bottomless Lakes, sinkhole lakes in the escarpment on the east side of the Pecos, are believed to have developed in north-south hinge-line fractures opened when the westernmost beds in the escarpment collapsed. Collapse was due to solution and removal of gypsiferous rock by artesian water which now fills the lakes.
Additional Publication Details
State/Local Government Series
Geology of the Roswell artesian basin, New Mexico, and its relation to the Hondo Reservoir and Effect on artesian aquifer storage of flood water in Hondo Reservoir