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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

By Jeff B. Langman, Fredrick E. Gebhardt, and Sarah E. Falk

Scientific Investigations Report 2004-5158

Prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Air Force, Cannon Air Force Base

The report is available as a pdf.


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.




Purpose and Scope

Description of the Study Area

Previous Studies

Study Methods

Well Sites

Ground-Water Sample Collection and Analysis

Chlorofluorocarbon, Stable Isotope, and Dissolved Gas Analysis

Contaminant Monitoring

Quality Assurance and Quality Control


Ground-Water Hydrology

Ground-Water Age

Ground-Water Levels

Potentiometric Surfaces

Ground-Water Flow

Ground-Water Quality

General Physical and Chemical Properties

Major Ions

Nutrients, Organic Carbon, and Dissolved Gases

Trace Elements

Stable Isotopes



Volatile Organic Compounds

Semivolatile Organic Compounds

Total Organic Halogens


Source Waters


References Cited

Supplemental Information

Evaluation of Quality-Control Samples

Evaluation of Data Outliers

Suggested Citation:

Langman, J.B., Gebhardt, F.E., and Falk, S.E., 2004, 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: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2004-5158, 42 p.

This report is available online in Portable Document Format (PDF). If you do not have the Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader, it is available for free download from Adobe Systems Incorporated.

Errata sheet for version prior to Feb. 16, 2005.

Download the Report (version 1.01 (PDF, 2.0MB).

Document Accessibility: Adobe Systems Incorporated has information about PDFs and the visually impaired. This information provides tools to help make PDF files accessible. These tools convert Adobe PDF documents into HTML or ASCII text, which then can be read by a number of common screen-reading programs that synthesize text as audible speech. In addition, an accessible version of Acrobat Reader 5.0 for Windows (English only), which contains support for screen readers, is available. These tools and the accessible reader may be obtained free from Adobe at Adobe Access.

Send questions or comments about this report to the author, J.B. Langman (505) 830-7944.

For more information about USGS activities in New Mexico, visit the USGS New Mexico District home page.

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