Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mysteries still cloud Montezuma Well geology and geochemistry

The USGS has issued a new report on the geology, geochemistry, and groundwater of Montezuma Well, the eponymous center of a national monument but they acknowledge that more information on the geology, surface water, and groundwater flow is needed to test the conceptual ideas they have on how the system operates.

"The source of water to Montezuma Well, a flowing sinkhole in a desert setting, is poorly understood. Water emerges from the middle limestone facies of the lacustrine Verde Formation, but the precise origin of the water and its travel path are largely unknown. Some have proposed artesian flow to Montezuma Well through the Supai Formation, which is exposed along the eastern margin of the Verde Valley and underlies the Verde Formation. The groundwater recharge zone likely lies above the floor of the Verde Valley somewhere to the north or east of Montezuma Well, where precipitation is more abundant"

Ref: Johnson, R.H., DeWitt, Ed, Wirt, Laurie, Arnold, L.R., and Horton, J.D., 2011, Water and rock geochemistry, geologic cross sections, geochemical modeling, and groundwater flow modeling for identifying the source of groundwater to Montezuma Well, a natural spring in central Arizona: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2011–1063, 62 p.

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