Hydrogeology of the Quitobaquito Springs and La Abra Plain area, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona, and Sonora, Mexico

Water-Resources Investigations Report 95-4295



Quitobaquito Springs, in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument near the south end of the northwestward-trending Quitobaquito Hills, are less than 0.25 mile north of the international boundary between the United States and Mexico. The National Park Service is concerned that the natural flow from Quitobaquito Springs might be reduced by ground-water withdrawals in the adjacent State of Sonora, Mexico. Quitobaquito and other nearby springs flow from a highly fractured granite that forms the Quitobaquito Hills. Fractures in the granitic intrusive rocks provide conduits for ground water to flow from an alluvial flow system along Aguajita Wash to a line of springs on the southwest side of Quitobaquito Hills. The chemical composition of water from all the springs is similar. Carbon-14 analysis of water from Quitobaquito Springs indicates that the spring water probably is between 500 and several thousand years old. Discharge at Quitobaquito Springs averaged 28 gallons per minute and ranged from 15 to 40 gallons per minute for 1981-92. Rainfall at two gages in the area of recharge to the northeast of Quitobaquito Hills averaged 6.6 inches per year during the 11-year monitoring program ending in September 1992. The lack of correlation between spring discharge and local rainfall indicates that local annual recharge may be small relative to the total quantity of ground water in storage. Surface-geophysical data indicate that a thin alluvial aquifer overlies the shallow crystalline rocks northeast of Quitobaquito Hills along Aguajita Wash. Results of the study indicate that the ground-water flow system along Aguajita Wash provides a source of water to the springs and may be hydraulically connected to the ground-water system that is pumped for agricultural purposes in Mexico. The altitude and low permeability of the granite bedrock near the international boundary, however, may provide a barrier to and (or) delay the effect of a northwestward propagation of water- level declines caused by pumping near the Rio Sonoyta in Mexico.
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Hydrogeology of the Quitobaquito Springs and La Abra Plain area, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona, and Sonora, Mexico
Series title Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number 95-4295
DOI 10.3133/wri954295
Edition -
Year Published 1996
Language ENGLISH
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey ; Open-File [Reports] Section [distributor],
Description v, 23 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.
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