2003 Seattle Annual Meeting (November 2–5, 2003)

Paper No. 21
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


ESPARZA Jr, Oscar, Geology, UTEP, 500 W. University Dr, El Paso, TX 79968 and SANCHEZ, Stephen, Department of Geological Sciences, Univ of Texas at El Paso, 500 W. University Dr, El Paso, TX 79968, sanchez@geo.utep.edu

Digital geology is a high-tech link between data collection in the field and data interpretation with GIS. At UTEP, we are developing handheld computer systems linked to GPS receivers for use in field mapping. We are also developing visualization and GIS methods for analyzing the collected spatial data along with remote sensing data, both in the lab and in the field. Central to our efforts is the preservation of data fidelity and the inherent geospatial nature of the data throughout the scientific process, from initial data collection to final scientific interpretation. In this way, transcription and re-interpretation errors associated with digitizing traditionally collected data are minimized. Furthermore, by being able to have access to digital, remotely sensed datasets on site, the field processes will be more work and time efficient. This methodology was used to further carry out Quaternary geologic and geomorphologic research in the El Paso-Juarez Metropolitan area. These cities are part of the Rio Grande Rift, an extensional tectonic setting still considered active. This research is focused on Quaternary deformation in the sedimentary basin between the Franklin Mountains (El Paso, Texas, USA) and the Sierra de Juarez (Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico). The work is motivated by suspicion of Quarternary and ‘post-Laramide’ faulting close to downtown El Paso which may pose a significant seismic hazard threat to the populous area. The research will show our methodology and progress towards our goal of characterizing the severity of seismic risk. Among our activities are surveying of offset geomorphic features such as alluvial terraces, mapping of other potentially correlative and deformed geomorphic surfaces, and GIS analysis of prominent lineaments.