Restoration of the Sulphur Springs Geothermal Area, Valles Caldera National Preserve: Evaluation of surface water quality and geothermal resources before, during, and after restoration

Primary Investigators

USGS Investigators: Johanna Blake

NPS Investigators: Robert Parmenter

Project Details

Start Year: 2023

Category: Synoptic

2023 2024
$75,000 $75,000
Project Location

NPS Park: Valles Caldera NPres

USGS Center: New Mexico Water Science Center

States: NM

VALL recently received National Park Service (NPS) funding to restore the Sulphur Springs area to pre-mining conditions. Restoration will include removing the old buildings and debris, plugging geothermal wells and grading the mine overburden piles and other disturbed earth to a more natural angle of repose, followed by revegetation, This restoration will be done to reestablish the area to a more natural state as VALL is a preserve in ecosystem recovery.

In 2021, the Department of Interior (DOI) added VALL to the list of National Parks with “significant thermal resources” and restoration of Sulphur Springs is now a priority project to increase VALL’s volcanic geothermal public interpretation and education.

Monitoring water quality parameters including major and trace elements, nutrients, organic carbon, and alkalinity prior to, during, and after the restoration will provide the preserve with necessary data to ensure that restoration activities have not impaired water downstream. In addition, this information will provide VALL staff data about chemical changes following the restoration of these types of geothermal resources.