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In cooperation with the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Geological Survey characterized the ground-water hydrology and water quality at Melrose Air Force Range in east-central New Mexico. The purpose of the study was to provide baseline data to Cannon Air Force Base resource managers to make informed decisions concerning actions that may affect the ground-water system. Five periods of water-level measurements and four periods of water-quality sample collection were completed at Melrose Air Force Range during 2002 and 2003. The water-level measurements and water-quality samples were collected from a 29-well monitoring network that included wells in the Impact Area and leased lands of Melrose Air Force Range managed by Cannon Air Force Base personnel. The purpose of this report is to provide a broad overview of ground-water flow and ground-water quality in the Southern High Plains aquifer in the Ogallala Formation at Melrose Air Force Range.
Results of the ground-water characterization of the Southern High Plains aquifer indicated a local flow system in the unconfined aquifer flowing northeastward from a topographic high, the Mesa (located in the southwestern part of the Range), toward a regional flow system in the unconfined aquifer that flows southeastward through the Portales Valley. Ground water was less than 55 years old across the Range; ground water was younger (less than 25 years) near the Mesa and ephemeral channels and older (25 years to 55 years) in the Portales Valley. Results of water-quality analysis indicated three areas of different water types: near the Mesa and ephemeral channels, in the Impact Area of the Range, and in the Portales Valley. Within the Southern High Plains aquifer, a sodium/chloride-dominated ground water was found in the center of the Impact Area of the Range with water-quality characteristics similar to ground water from the underlying Chinle Formation. This sodium/chloride-dominated ground water of the unconfined aquifer in the Impact Area indicates a likely connection with the deeper water-producing zone. No pesticides, explosives, volatile organic compounds, semivolatile organic compounds, organic halogens, or perchlorate were found in water samples from the Southern High Plains aquifer at the Range.
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USGS Numbered Series
Ground-water hydrology and water quality of the southern high plains aquifer, Melrose Air Force Range, Cannon Air Force Base, Curry and Roosevelt Counties, New Mexico, 2002-03