Vista Clara’s NMR geophysical instruments have played a key role in the comprehensive East River Experimental Watershed study conducted near Crested Butte, Colorado. GMR™ non-invasive NMR surface measurement, along with both Javelin® and Dart™ portable NMR borehole logging have all been used effectively in this multi-organizational study.  The study, which began in 2014, supports the collective research activities of multiple US Department of Energy funded investigators seeking to understand the drivers and controls of mountain hydrology.

As detailed in this extensive article in FastTIMES online, NMR Geophysical Investigations Provide Definitive Answers to Hydrogeological Processes in Crested Butte Colorado Watershed Study Area, the NMR geophysical measurements were performed in three specific locations in this study area.

The upper East River valley is a representative mountainous headwater where a combination of surface, borehole, and airborne geophysical measurements were used to quantify hydrologic properties and processes including lithologic controls on groundwater storage.

Map of NMR investigation sites in the vicinity of Crested Butte Colorado, USA

Both surface and borehole NMR measurements have identified a previously unrecognized, unconsolidated alluvial aquifer underlying much of the valley. In the absence of such measurements this aquifer would have remained unknown and uncharacterized.

Lower Redwell Basin surface NMR soundings, using a 44m 2-turn circular loop.
Left: FID surface NMR and time domain EM electrical resistivity soundings. Right: surface NMR CPMG sounding.

According to the FastTIMES article, authored by Dave Walsh of Vista Clara Inc. and Ken Williams of Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory:
“The NMR geophysical measurements in the East River Experimental Watershed provided unambiguous answers to fundamental mountain hydrology research questions, including the presence of important aquifers, groundwater flow paths and soil moisture. The NMR-measured soil moisture data enabled quantification of more bioavailable pools of soil water, e.g. clay bound, capillary and mobile water content and their variability over space and time. Surface and borehole NMR data provided insights into the presence of aquifers hosting considerable supplies of groundwater and groundwater flow processes at spatial scales (surface) and with high resolution (borehole) that could not have been achieved without such data.”

Read the full article in FastTIMES online here.