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Home > Geological Research > CGS Projects
CGS Projects 
 

The CGS has multiple on-going projects through out the state dealing with all aspects of Colorado geology.  These projects include but are not limited to:

Mapping

Minerals and Energy

Water


MAPPING PROJECTS


Project Title:
National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program: STATEMAP Component

Program Manager: David C. Noe
Principal researchers: David Noe, Matt Morgan, Jonathan White, Peter Barkmann
Funding Source: and Colorado Geological Survey
Funding Source: 50% U.S. Geological Survey (NCGMP), 50% State (Colorado DNR Severance Tax Operational Funds)

Program Manager: David C. NoePrincipal researchers: David Noe, Matt Morgan, Jonathan White, Peter BarkmannFunduing Source: and Colorado Geological SurveyFunding Source: 50% U.S. Geological Survey (NCGMP), 50% State (Colorado DNR Severance Tax Operational Funds)

Program Manager: David C. NoePrincipal researchers: David Noe, Matt Morgan, Jonathan White, Peter BarkmannFunduing Source: and Colorado Geological SurveyFunding Source: 50% U.S. Geological Survey (NCGMP), 50% State (Colorado DNR Severance Tax Operational Funds)

STATEMAP funds awarded to the Colorado Geological Survey (CGS) have helped support detailed mapping of bedrock and surficial deposits in 25 Colorado counties (Chaffee, Clear Creek, Costilla, Delta, Douglas, Eagle, El Paso, Elbert, Fremont, Garfield, Gunnison, Lake, La Plata, Las Animas, Mesa, Moffat, Montrose, Park, Pitkin, Rio Blanco, Routt, Summit, Teller).  We have 93.5 1:24,000-scale quadrangles since the program began in 1992, or an average of 5 maps per year.

Geologic maps produced as part of Colorado’s STATEMAP program are used by geoscience professionals and by planners and decision-makers at the state, county, and municipal levels of government.  Information from these maps is regularly incorporated into decision-making on a wide variety of local and county-wide issues that include identifying geologic hazards, protecting ground water resources, locating new municipal wells, siting waste-disposal facilities, identifying potential aggregate resources, and addressing a broad spectrum of land-use concerns.

CGS is involved in cooperative mapping efforts with two other components of the National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program (NCGMP).  The USGS (FEDMAP component) uses CGS 1:24,000-scale geologic quadrangles to improve the quality and understanding of geologic relationships for 1:100,000-scale mapping projects. We also work with university professors who propose and conduct EDMAP mapping projects in Colorado.  Through these collaborative efforts, we serve each others’ needs and enhance the usefulness and value of our mapping.

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Project Title: Paleocurrent directions of the Castle Rock Conglomerate and their implications for late Tertiary tectonism and hydrogeology in the Denver Basin

Funding Source: Colorado Geological Survey 
Project Manager: Matt Morgan
Principal Researchers: Matt Morgan and Steve Keller (volunteer geologist).

The Castle Rock Conglomerate is a widespread late Eocene fluvial deposit that forms a prominent caprock on buttes and mesas within the Colorado Piedmont.  The unit was deposited in a series of valleys that were cut into the older Dawson Formation, Larkspur Conglomerate and Wall Mountain Tuff.  Its matrix consists of arkosic sand to pebble-sized fragments of pink feldspar and milky-white quartz with pebble- to boulder-sized clasts of Wall Mountain Tuff, gray-blue quartzite, granite, and probable Lower Paleozoic sedimentary rocks that become sporadic upward in the unit.  Some clasts may reach several feet in length near the base.  Overall, the unit is cross-stratified with well-defined troughs that are good indicators of paleocurrent direction. The Colorado Geological Survey, in conjunction with geologic maps created under the National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program began a study in 2008 to determine its fluvial characteristics, with the main focus being paleocurrent measurements of channel axes.   A total of 1551 individual troughs were measured at 167 locations.  The data collected included the azimuth of trough axis, inclination of foreset beds, length of axis, maximum width of trough, and largest clast size.  Length-azimuth rose diagrams were created for each location and indicate relative current velocities.  The preliminary findings include: confirmation of a main trunk fluvial channel that trends S-SE from 6 km E-NE of Castle Rock to southeast of Elbert, three tributary streams that are directed from the W-SW and feed into the main trunk, atypical N-NW paleocurrent directions in the westernmost exposures of one of the tributaries, and confluences associated with these newly documented tributaries.  In many areas, in particular, Castlewood Canyon State Park, the Castle Rock Conglomerate is jointed and faulted.  Fault offset can be as little as a few inches for individual faults, but when taken cumulatively with other nearby faults, the offset may be several feet.  This has implications for Late Tertiary faulting within the Denver Basin and potential compartmentalization of water-bearing rock units.

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Project Title: Age database of rocks and sediments in Colorado

Age database of rocks and sediments in Colorado Age database of rocks and sediments in Colorado

Funding Source: Colorado Geological Survey
Principal Researcher: Matt Morgan

This will be an on-line database and GIS mapserver showing the locations of age-dated rocks and sediments in Colorado.  It is partly based on the U.S. Geological Survey database of igneous rocks in Colorado and addition CGS dates obtained primarily through the STATEMAP program. 

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Mineral and Energy Projects


Project Title: Toward an Integrated Approach to the Distribution of Metallic Mineral Resources in Colorado

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Principal Researchers: Vincent Matthews and Matt Morgan
Funding Source: Colorado Geological Survey

Twenty-first-Century studies on the first-order controls of Tertiary, epithermal ore deposits in Colorado, appear to support the concept of Lovering (1930), and to raise significant questions about the validity of Tweto and Sim's (1963) interpretation of the controls for their concept of the Colorado Mineral Belt.  GIS results of an analysis performed to test these two concepts, strongly support Lovering’s concept over Tweto and Sims’ concept.  Moreover, the results revealed a possible enhancement to Lovering's concept that may aid our understanding of where ore deposits are likely to occur in Colorado.

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Project Title: Geologic Map and Coal Bed Stratigraphy of the Fruitland Formation in Western Archuleta County, Colorado

Principal Researcher: Chris Carroll
Funding Source: Severence Tax Funds via Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, Colorado Geological Survey

Through a cooperative grant with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, I mapped a 23 mile long strip map of Upper Cretaceous strata along the Fruitland Fm outcrop in Archuleta Co, CO.  This is the last part of the San Juan Basin to be developed for coalbed methane.  I managed a team of seven geologists to map 23 miles of outcrop at 1:24,000 scale, collect 22 measured sections of detailed Fruitland coal exposures, and walked and correlated all Fruitland coals outcropping along the way.  This data was later digitized using ESRI ArcGIS and ERDAS Imagine software. This northwest-southeast outcrop pattern happens to be parallel to the interpreted Cretaceous shoreline, so the coals mapped are longitudinal length exposures that represent the longest continuous coal outcrops in the entire San Juan Basin. The digital map compilation includes an attributed database of coal thickness, length, rank, clinker, distressed vegetation,  along with a map, 4 detailed coal plates, accompanying report, coal analyses (including desorption) from COGCC monitor wells nearby, aerial photography, and detailed measured section cross-sections and coal correlations. All of this data was presented at the 2009 AAPG Annual Meeting in Denver by abstract presentation and poster session. CGS open-file report CD to be published soon in 2011.

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Project Title: Historic Coal Mines of Colorado, 2011

Principal Researcher: Chris Carroll
Funding Source: Colorado Department of Natural Resources Severance Tax Operational Fund

This update to the 2002 CGS publication Information Series 64, is intended to provide coal information for all known coal mines that operated in Colorado between 1864 and 2011.  There are 1,747 coal mines or prospect pits listed in the database, which describes the coal mine name, location, geologic setting, coal quality data, production, with additional remarks and references. The objective is to provide a complete listing and description of all known coal mines in Colorado for interested citizens, government planners, land owners and resource developers. The publication is a CD and includes an MS Access database and Xcel spreadsheet attributed to GIS shapefiles showing the point locations for over 1,500 coal mines and prospects. ESRI ArcMap data are included. Statewide-scale derivative coal quality maps are also provided.  These useful maps show variability of coal quality by mine for ash, fixed carbon, moisture, volatile matter, ash softening temperature, free swelling index, gas explosions, cumulative coal production through 2008, heat value (Btu), and total sulfur. Analyses are based on data from historic USGS coal reports throughout Colorado since 1880. These maps are available as both Adobe pdf format as well as Adobe Illustrator (AI) types of files.

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Project Title: COTSA, Colorado and US Geological Survey Cooperative CO2 Project

Principal Researcher: Chris Carroll
Funding Source: U.S. Geological Survey

The purpose of this one-year federal grant is to provide USGS with an updated database of CO2 sequestration parameters in all saline aquifer basins in Colorado. The CGS participated in the DOE Southwest Regional Partnership on Carbon Sequestration from 2004-2009. As a result of that study, it was determined that deep saline ( >10,000 ppm total dissolved solids) aquifers provide the best permeability, porosity, and storage potential for CO2 sequestration. The USGS is tasked with attaining a national carbon dioxide sequestration capacity assessment.  Using their methodology the CGS is collecting a parameter database to assist the USGS in estimating the potential pore space volume for each designated geographical extent of  deep saline aquifers (3,000 to 13,000 ft deep), and their associated cap seal formations. Byproducts of this deliverable will be 13 databases of petroleum provinces of Colorado with attributed data for use in PETRA and GIS projects.

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Project Title: National Coal Resource Data System (NCRDS)

Principal Researcher: Chris Carroll
Funding Source: U.S. Geological Survey, Colorado Geological Survey

This ongoing cooperative USGS/CGS project involves updating a national coal stratigraphic database for Colorado’s coal regions.  This project has been ongoing since 1977. To date, there are a total of 137,912 stratigraphic units of data entered, representing 8,467 individual point locations.  These points are represented by drill holes, mines, and measured sections of coal collected from coalbed methane wells, coal exploration wells, and other coal research projects.   This annual grant is dedicated toward data collection, stratigraphic correlations, and data entry. Additional funding in recent years has been awarded to collect run-of-mine samples at active coal mines in Colorado for trace element chemistry sampling. The CGS is currently concentrating its coal efforts in the North Park, South Park, San Juan Basin, and Raton Basin areas.

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Project Title: Colorado Electric Generation Directory and Coal Transportation and Distribution Map, 2010

Principal Researcher: Chris Carroll
Funding Source: Colorado Department of Natural Resources Severance Tax Operational Fund

This ‘once every five year’ update publication shows a snapshot in time for electricity generation in Colorado. It is a collection of statistics for natural gas, coal, wind, hydroelectric, and solar energy sources in Colorado. The publication includes a distribution map of coal transportation from mine to power plants across Colorado, and includes maps showing each coal mine in the state. This project will be available in 2011 as a CD product for the first time. 

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Project Title: Colorado Coal Geology in the 2010 Keystone Coal Industry Manual

Principal Researcher: Chris Carroll

In January 2010 Chris Carroll was asked by the publishers of Mining Media to contribute a geologic article about the coal geology in Colorado.  This was the first time in 8 years the state were able update information to this annual directory.  The 12 page document was submitted and published in July 2010.  It is an update to Colorado’s coal production, reserves, resources, number of miners, coal quality, coking coal, general geology of the coal regions, and stratigraphic columns for each coal region. 

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WATER PROJECTS

Project Title:  Managing Stormwater to Protect Water Resources in Mountainous Regions of Colorado

Project Manager/Principal Researcher:  Ralf Topper
Funding Source:  Colorado Water Conservation Board Severance Tax Grant
Potential Outcomes:  Implementation of best management practices that protect and conserve water resources.

The purpose and focus of this study is to identify and promote stormwater management technologies and practices that may be implemented locally to protect and conserve water resources through mitigation of detrimental impacts caused by land disturbances and modifications associated with land development.  Naturally vegetated or undisturbed ecosystems produce little to no runoff from the vast majority of precipitation events.  While runoff is part of the natural hydrologic cycle, man‐made hydrologic modifications that accompany development have increased the volume of stormwater runoff significantly.  Land use modifications, particularly urbanization and agriculture, can alter natural drainage patterns and infiltration that recharges groundwater.  Stormwater discharges have emerged as a national problem because both the flow of water and water quality is altered as the land is urbanized or developed.  Stormwater has been identified as a leading source of pollution for all waterbody types in the United States.

The final report/manual was written to introduce, educate, and provide general guidance for implementing green stormwater management practices at the watershed, community, and individual lot level.  While the manual was developed for Clear Creek County, the concepts, guidelines, and best management practices are applicable throughout the mountain regions of Colorado.  It is designed to assist planners, developers, architects, landscape professionals, city and county community development and public works staff, and the public with the selection and design of practices and techniques that facilitate natural recharge of groundwater by mimicking the predevelopment hydrology of the area.  The manual provides guidance for practices and techniques applicable to both new development and redevelopment that reduce runoff, promote groundwater recharge, and improve water quality.

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Project Title:   El Paso County Groundwater Quality Study – Phase 1

Principal Investigator:  Ralf Topper
Funding Source:  El Paso County, Study Committee participants Colorado Geological Survey
Potential Outcomes:  Modification of El Paso County land use regulations to protect groundwater quality

The purpose and focus of this study is to execute the scope of work commissioned by El Paso County, through the Groundwater Study Committee, established in reference to Resolution No. 09-202.  The subject of the final report is the groundwater quality of the alluvial aquifer within the Upper Black Squirrel Creek (UBSC) basin.  The Phase 1 study objectives are to characterize the current groundwater quality in the alluvial aquifer and determine whether there is a correlation between existing and future land uses and groundwater quality.

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Project Title: Lost Creek Basin – Aquifer Recharge and Storage Study

Project Manager/Principal Researcher:  Ralf Topper
Funding Source:  Water Supply Reserve Account Grant, CGS in-kind match, Lost Creek Groundwater Management District
Potential Outcomes:  Identification of potential sites and quantification of storage volumes for underground water storage in the Lost Creek Designated Basin.

The focus of this feasibility study is to evaluate and refine the existing knowledge of the hydrogeology of the alluvial aquifer system in the Lost Creek Designated Ground Water Basin for the purposes of assessing the potential for aquifer recharge and storage implementation.  Geographic, geologic, hydrologic, water quality, and infrastructure data will be collected and analyzed to evaluate the recharge potential, storage capacity, conveyance, and water quality characteristics in the study area.  The scope of work is tailored to identify select sites or sub-basin areas for potential pilot project implementation.

The objectives of this study are to compile, collect, and analyze hydrologic, aquifer property and water quality data to characterize the ground water resources in the alluvial aquifer and evaluate geographic, infrastructure, land ownership/use information for the purposes of assessing the potential for aquifer recharge and storage implementation.  To address the needs of in-basin water rights holders and assist the management district in their decision-making processes, we propose to:
1. Characterize the configuration and extent of the alluvial aquifer within the Lost Creek basin;
2. Compile and present current and historic ground-water levels and water level trends;
3. Characterize the amount of natural recharge and estimate the available storage capacity in the alluvial aquifer;
4. Determine hydraulic and storage properties of the alluvial aquifer;
5. Present the spatial relationship with the underlying Denver Basin bedrock aquifers;
6. Characterize the land use and ownership; and
7. Identify the existing water delivery infrastructure.

The deliverables for this project include both hardcopy and electronic versions of a final report.  This report will include descriptive text, tables, figures and map plates.  It will also contain appendices of relevant data collected in Tasks 1 & 2.  The project will be developed on a GIS platform.  The database and layer files generated for GIS application will be maintained by the Colorado Geological Survey and available to project participants, sponsors, and interested stakeholders upon request.

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Last Updated: 5/5/2011 2:21 PM 
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