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Geology of Parks and Federal Lands of the Southwest

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TASK 1 - Grand Canyon Regional Geologic Mapping

Task Leader: George Billingsley

Statement of Problem: This task supports geologic mapping in the National Parks of the southwestern Colorado Plateau with current emphasis on the Grand Canyon National Park region that includes Grand Canyon NP, Pipe Spring NM, Lake Mead NRA, Glen Canyon NRA, and Wupatki NM of the National Park Service, and Grand Canyon Parashant NM and Vermilion Cliffs NM of the Bureau of Land Management. In the last few years, predictions of severe water shortages in Northern Arizona and water rights issues led the NPS (Michael Soukup, Associate Director for Natural Resource Stewardship and Science) to identify ground water investigations in and near Grand Canyon NP as a "high priority" for USGS DOI support. The geologic maps produced thus far have addressed a critical resource management question in the Grand Canyon Region: How might increased ground-water development adjacent to the Grand Canyon affect the surface and spring flows within Grand Canyon and National Parks within the Grand Canyon vicinity such as Pipe Spring NM and Wupatki NM?

This project’s developing collaboration with USGS, WRD, and SBSC team affords the opportunity to contribute directly to basic and applied research in ground water studies in an area where critical resource management decisions are pending. The cities of Flagstaff, Williams, Grand Canyon, Tusayan, and private entities like Canyon Forest Village near Tusayan and subdivisions in and around Valle, Arizona, are or have been considering development of ground-water supplies from the regional aquifer south of the Canyon. Seeps and springs discharging from the Redwall-Muav aquifer on the north and south rims of the Grand Canyon support wildlife and riparian zones within the Canyon. The potential for development to affect south rim springs is not well known because of the limited understanding of the regional hydro geologic system. An understanding of the regional flow system must include information about lithology and structure of the rock formations that comprise the southern Colorado Plateau. The regional geologic mapping supported by this task is part of an interdisciplinary USGS/NPS effort to develop a better understanding of ground-water flow in the Grand Canyon region in collaboration with the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service,the Navajo Nation,and the Hopi Tribe.

Objectives: Geologic mapping of the Grand Canyon region fulfills formal requests from the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, the Navajo Nation, and part of the Hopi Reservation. This task will complete a new 30' x 60' geologic map of the Tuba City quadrangle (ELEMENT 5.1, Figure 1A) and continue new mapping efforts for the Glen canyon Dam 30' x 60' quadrangle (expected publication 2012) that will add an 8th and 9th map to the proposed 9 contiguous 30' x 60' quadrangles of the Grand Canyon Region of Arizona (Grand Canyon, Mt. Trumbull, Peach Springs, Littlefield, Valle, Cameron, Fredonia, Tuba City, and Glen Canyon Dam quadrangles; ELEMENT 5.1, Figure 1A). The Tuba City quadrangle mapping is complete and GIS work is in progress and the Gland Canyon Dam quadrangle mapping began in FY 2008 and is partially done. In addition, task members will produce thirty-two 1:24,000 scale maps (web site only) for each new 100 k quadrangles (Tuba City and Glen Canyon Dam). The maps and geospatial databases will fulfill the NPS Inventory and Monitoring Program's requirement for regional geologic maps of Grand Canyon NP, Grand Canyon Parashant NM, Lake Mead NRA jointly managed by Grand Canyon NP, Lake Mead NRA, Pipe Springs NM, Glen Canyon NRA, BLM, U.S. Forest Service, the western Navajo Nation, and part of the Hopi Reservation in conjunction with the Navajo Land Use Planning Project, Task 1 (9937B02). NPS units covered by some of the proposed mapping include Vermilion Cliffs NM (BLM), Pipe Spring NM, Wupatki NM, Grand Canyon NP, and the southern edge of Glen Canyon NRA, all in northern Arizona.

View of the Granite Gorge near Phantom Ranch from the Tipoff along the South Kaibab Trail
View of the Inner Gorge of the Grand Canyon along the South Kaibab Trail
Geologic Map of the Bright Angel and South Kaibab Trail area of the Grand Canyon
Geologic map of the South Rim and Phantom Ranch area of the Grand Canyon
Cross section of the Grand Canyon
Cross Section of the Grand Canyon from http://pubs.usgs.gov/imap/i-2688/
Mapping of the Grand Canyon region addresses the area of greatest need, an updated, detailed digital geologic framework map of the Grand Canyon region related to regional water management and environmental resource issues, and biological investigations. The mapping was originally requested to provide critical structural information for analysis of geologic controls on groundwater movement and spring discharge of the Grand Canyon area. Recharge and discharge areas of the regional aquifer are known to be concentrated along faults and fractures.

An additional management concern in the Grand Canyon region is the identification of the areas of highest probability for supporting threatened or endangered plant and animal species. One success of this project thus far has been the realization by NPS, USFS, and USGS biologists that the habitats of some rare, threatened, or endangered species, such as the Mexican Spotted Owl and rare cacti, have geologic controls that can be used to help predict species distribution. Thus, our geospatial databases are being combined with biological data for predictive purposes. The Navajo Nation Minerals Department has requested (by phone and meetings) additional geologic mapping in the Tuba City and Glen Canyon Dam 30' x 60' quadrangles in Arizona of the western Navajo Nation in support of water resource information, biological studies, and changes of surficial sand dune hazards and flood plain hazards related to climate change and human impacts of roads and grazing the land surfaces.

Active collaborators include USGS-Water Resources Division [Arizona District], and NPS Geologic Resources Division and Water Resources Division. Clients for the geohydrology framework studies include Grand Canyon NP, NPS-Water Resources Division, and the Coconino Plateau Water Study and Water Advisory Council. For four years, Grand Canyon NP, via the NPS-Water Resources Division and the Geologic Division has provided some funding support toward OE, GIS, and publication costs for some of the mapping projects of the greater Grand Canyon region. We are indebted to the local Tribes (Hualapai, Kaibab-Paiute, Havasupai, Navajo, and Hopi) for giving us permission and permits at no cost to conduct field work on Native American lands.

Methodology: Methods: To map surficial deposits, bedrock geology, and structural geology at the 1:24,000-scale and compile onto 1:100,000-scale digital databases and publish the results. The last three (Valle, Cameron, and Fredonia) 30' x 60' quadrangle datasets include thirty two 7.5’ quadrangle digital geologic maps (web site only) except for the Fredonia quadrangle where six 7.5' quadrangles are not published at the request of the Kaibab Paiute Tribe.

Linked projects with joint USGS and NPS support:
USGS-WRD, Arizona district: "Spring Inventory and Sampling" project: The WRD is planning more inventorying, sampling, and field assessments of a series of springs in the Grand Canyon National Park area that issue from the regional Redwall-Muav limestone aquifer and Coconino Sandstone aquifer. Springs are being sampled and monitored for major ions and cations, trace elements, rare earth elements, nutrients, gross radioactivity, stable isotopes, tritium, and carbon- 14, temperature, PH, specific conductance, alkalinity, dissolved oxygen and discharge.

USGS Navajo Land Use Planning Project: Geologic mapping of the Tuba City and Glen Canyon Dam 30' x 60' quadrangles are linked to the Navajo Land Use Planning Project in that these two quadrangles are partly in Grand Canyon National Park and mostly on adjoining lands of the Navajo Nation and The Hopi Tribe of Arizona.
Map of 100K Quadrangles in the Northern Arizona region
Index of 100K quadrangles (30' x60' maps) for northwestern Arizona showing the location of completed mapping (green), mapping in progress (yellow). Geologic mapping on the 1:250,000 scale for the Davis Dam and Valentine quad region is near completion.
  Geologic Mapping:
To date, task members have completed and published seven geologic maps at the 1:100,000-scale (30' x 60' quadrangles) of the Grand Canyon region encompassing an area of more than 14,000 square miles. (LITTLEFIELD I-2628 (Billingsley and Workman, 2000, GRAND CANYON I-2688 (Billingsley, 2000), MOUNT TRUMBULL I-2766 (Billingsley and Wellmeyer, 2003), VALLE SIM-2895 (Billingsley and others, 2006), PEACH SPRINGS SIM-2900 (Billingsley and others, 2006, CAMERON SIM-2977 (Billingsley and others, 2007), and FREDONIA SIM 3035 (Billingsley and others, 2008). The last three, Valle, Cameron, and Fredonia include web site view maps at the 1:24,000-scale to preserve geologic details. The 8th quadrangle, the Tuba City 30' x 60' quadrangle, is nearing the technical review stage and is anticipating approval for publication in late FY2011 or early 2012. The 9th quadrangle, the Glen Canyon Dam 30' x 60' quadrangle is currently in mapping stages. In addition, they have produced a series of 16 digital geologic maps at the 1:31,680 or 1:24,000-scale and 90 1:24,000-scale geologic view maps for resource managers of public lands (NPS, USFS, and BLM). The geologic maps and databases are being used by NPS, Forest Service, BLM, Navajo Nation, The Hope Tribe, and local community and private resource managers associated with rangeland management, erosion control, groundwater investigations, biological habitat characterization, and future mineral exploration for water and construction building materials. See Geologic Mapping of the Grand Canyon region website.
 

Task Products

Billingsley, G. H., Block, D. L., and Dyer, H. C., 2006, Geologic Map of the Peach Springs 30' X 60' Quadrangle, Coconino Counties, Northern Arizona: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Information Map 2900; map scale 1:100,000; http://pubs.usgs.gov/sim/2006/2900/.

Billingsley, George H., Felger, T. J., and Priest, S. S., 2006, Geologic map of the Valle 30' x 60' quadrangle, Coconino County, northern Arizona: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Information Map 2895, map scale 1:100,000; 23 p. pamphlet. http://pubs.usgs.gov/sim/2006/2895/

Billingsley, G. H., Priest, S. S., and Felger, T. J., 2008, Geologic Map of the Cameron 30' X 60' Quadrangle, Coconino Counties, Northern Arizona: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Information Map 2977; map scale 1:100,000; http://pubs.usgs.gov/sim/2007/2977/.

Billingsley, G. H.; Priest, S. S., and Felger, T. J., 2008, Geologic Map of the Fredonia 30' X 60' Quadrangle, Mohave and Coconino Counties, Northern Arizona: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Information Map 3035; map scale 1:100,000; http://pubs.usgs.gov/sim/3035/.

Billingsley, G. H., and Priest, S. S., 2010, Geologic map of the House Rock Valley area, Coconino County, northern Arizona: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3108, scale 1:50,000, 1 sheet. pamphlet 23 p. http://pubs.usgs.gov/sim/3108/.

Billingsley, G. H. Priest, S. S., and Felger, T. J., 2007, Geologic map of Wupatki National Monument and vicinity, Coconino County, northern Arizona: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 2958, scale 1:24,000, 15 p. http://pubs.usgs.gov/sim/2007/2958/.

Billingsley, G. H., Stoffer, P. W., and Priest, S. S., 2011, Geologic map of the Tuba City 30' x 60' quadrangle, Coconino County, northern Arizona:, USGS, Scientific Investigations Map (in progress).

Beard, L. S., Anderson, R. E., Block, D. L., Bohannon, R. G., Brady, R. J., Castor, S. B., Duebendorfer, E. M., Faulds, J. E., Felger, T. J., Howard, K. A., Kuntz, M. A., and Williams, V. S., 2007, Preliminary geologic map of the Lake Mead 30' X 60' quadrangle, Clark County, Nevada, and Mohave County, Arizona: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2007-1010, 109 p., 3 plates, scale 1:100,000. http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1010/ (this report is associated with Task 2).

Legacy products associated with regional mapping:

Billingsley, G. H. and Workman, J. B., 2000, Geologic map of the Littlefield 30' x 60' quadrangle, Mohave County, northwestern Arizona: U.S. Geological Survey Geologic Investigations Series I-2628, map scale 1:100,000; 2 sheets, 25 p. pamphlet. http://pubs.usgs.gov/imap/i2628/

Billingsley, G. H., 2000, Geologic map of the Grand Canyon 30' x 60' quadrangle, Coconino and Mohave Counties, northwestern Arizona: U.S. Geological Survey Geologic Investigations Series I-2688, map scale 1:100,000. http://pubs.usgs.gov/imap/i-2688/

Billingsley, G. H. and Wellmeyer, J. L., 2003, Geologic map of the Mount Trumbull 30 X 60 quadrangle, Mohave and Coconino Counties, Northwestern Arizona: U.S. Geological Survey Geologic Investigations Series I-2766, map scale 1:100,000; 36 p. pamphlet.
http://pubs.usgs.gov/imap/i2766/

 

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