The Bernalillo NW quadrangle is located in the northern part of the Albuquerque basin, which is the largest basin or graben within the Rio Grande rift. The quadrangle is underlain by poorly consolidated sedimentary rocks of the Santa Fe Group. These rocks are best exposed in the southwestern part of the quadrangle in the Rincones de Zia, a badland topography cut by northward-flowing tributary arroyos of the Jemez River. The Jemez River flows through the northern half of the quadrangle; extensive fluvial and eolian deposits cover bedrock units along the river. The structural fabric of the quadrangle is dominated by dozens of generally north striking, east and west-dipping normal faults and minor folds associated with the Neogene Rio Grande rift.