The Yesum-HoHoman and Gypsum land (hummocky) soils at the High Energy Laser System Test Facility (HELSTF) represent wind deposits from recently desiccated lacustrine deposits and deposits from the ancestral Lake Otero. The upper 15-20 feet of the subsurface consists of varved gypsiferous clay and silt. Below these surfidai deposits the lithology consists of interbedded clay units, silty-clay units, and fine- to medium-grained quartz arenite units in continuous and discontinuous horizons. Clay horizons can cause perched water above the water table. Analyses of selected clay samples indicate that clay units are composed chiefly of kaolinire and mixed-layer illite/ smectite. The main aquifer is representative of a leaky-confined aquifer. Estimated aquifer properties are: transmissivity (T) = 780 feet squared per day, storage coefficient (S) = 3.1 x 10-3, and hydraulic conductivity (K) = 6.0 feet per day. Ground water flows south and southwest; the estimated hydraulic gradient is 5.3 feet per mile. Analyses of water samples indicate that ground water at the HELSTF site is brackish to slightly saline at the top of the main aquifer. Dissolved-solids concentration near the top of the main aquifer ranges from 5,940 to 11,800 milligrams per liter. Predominant ions are sodium and sulfate. At 815 feet below land surface, the largest dissolved-solids concentration measured is 111,000 milligrams per liter, which indicates increasing salinity with depth. Predominant ions are sodium and chloride.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Geohydrology of the High Energy Laser System Test Facility site, White Sands Missile Range, Tularosa Basin, south-central New Mexico
Water-Resources Investigations Report
U.S. Geological Survey, [Water Resources Division, New Mexico District] ;
Can be purchased from U.S. Geological Survey, Earth Science Information Center, Open-File Reports Section,