Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Geological Sciences


Lin Ma

Second Advisor

Jason W. Ricketts


Fault zones in the shallow crust impact a variety of geological processes including mineral deposition, fluid flow patterns in shallow and deep groundwater aquifers, and most importantly seismic activity. The specific interplays of fault zones, seismicity, and groundwater flows are complex and not well understood despite the importance they have to society. The Rio Grande rift is a region impacted by seismic and volcanic activity that place the first order control on mineral formation and fluid flow patterns. It is also a region that is often disregarded as a seismic hazard due to its inferred low tectonic rates and long recurrence intervals for fault movement. Many studies of the Rio Grande rift have focused on the structure and stratigraphy of individual basins but few have focused on understanding the importance of fluid flow and fault interactions.

This Dissertation aims at contributing to the study of Rio Grande rift by focusing on different aspects of fault and groundwater interactions throughout the rift. Specifically, secondary carbonate minerals found at or near fault zones are used to provide new insights on past and present climatic, hydrologic, and tectonic changes, as well as geochemical evidence for both deep and shallow fluid interaction near faults. In this study, we use various isotope signatures to determine the source of fluids and environmental conditions, and Uranium-series geochronology to constrain carbonate formation. This Dissertation constrains fault movement along the East Franklin Mountain fault using pedogenic carbonates, constrains fault movement, paleo fluid flow patterns, and paleo-climate transitions in Laguna, New Mexico using travertine deposits that formed along the Santa Fe fault, and evaluates modern fluid flow and sources in central New Mexico. Additionally, a preliminary study is provided which attempted to constrain fault movement and fluid flow patterns in the Jornada Basin.




Received from ProQuest

File Size

167 pages

File Format


Rights Holder

Victor Higareda Garcia