Application of integrated remote sensing and GIS technologies to geoenvironmental issues in far west Texas and southern New Mexico

Adriana Evangelina Perez, University of Texas at El Paso


The primary goal of this dissertation was to utilize a geographic information system (GIS) to better understand geological, geophysical, forestry and environmental issues in the west Texas-New Mexico region. Studies such as these are especially important in the border region where economic limitations are usually a factor in studying and solving some of these problems. The availability of satellite imagery through the Pan-American Center for Earth and Environmental Studies (PACES), data from the Geospatial Center and the collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and National Forest entities (Guadalupe and Lincoln Ranger Districts) enhance the value of our investigation. Research was conducted in two distinct areas: Cloudcroft-Ruidoso, New Mexico, and the Salt Flat basin of southwest Texas (Figure 1). The dissertation will be presented as a set of independent chapters.^ Chapter 1. A GIS and remote sensing investigation of the effects of interactions of terrain, soil, and other physiographic factors on the Pine Community of Lincoln National Park in the Sacramento Mountains of Southwest New Mexico. ^ This study utilized GIS and remote sensing to better understand the dynamics of White Pine Blister Rust (WPBR) infestation in the white pine community of the Sacramento Mountains of southwest New Mexico. Both field spectral sampling of the needles and imagery analysis were incorporated to better understand the infestation, progression and vulnerability of the forest to this and other diseases. ^ A major contribution of this study was to construct a GIS database, which was utilized to analyze USDA, elevation, satellite imagery, geological, and hydrological data to produce a hazard-rating map. The GIS environment also allowed for a 3-D perspective on the data, which was very useful in spatial visualization. ^ Chapter 2. An integrated study of the basin structure of the Salt Flat basin. ^ In this study we utilized, gravity and magnetic data, satellite imagery and geological digital data to analyze various anomalies and crustal stucture of the basin and to produce an updated, georeferenced, and integrated basin model.^ Salt Flat basin has been modeled as a graben with Neogene sediment fill ranging in thickness from 450 to 600 meters. ^ A major contribution of this work was to integrate recently available technologies and data such as Geonet data repository (gravity and magnetic), the PACES GIS database, USGS Quaternary faults database, satellite imagery, and digital elevation models from the National Elevation dataset (NED). The compilation of all available resources enabled us to produce, update, and delineate boundaries, layers and maps in a Geographic Information System (GIS). An important product of this project was to produce a manageable database (SALT.mxd project) that can be used by future researchers to view, investigate, and produce new maps and models.^ Chapter 3. Dust production and transport within the playa systems of the Salt Flat basin.^ This investigation has been conducted in order to better understand the processes of dust mobilization, provenance and trajectory in the Salt Flat basin region of western Texas (USA). Acquisition of a dust signature of the area was examined through several techniques such as Proton Induced X-Ray Emission (PIXE), X-Ray Diffraction (XRD), Ion Chromatography (IC), and particulate size distribution. Our investigation found that the type, amount, and size of particulate matter generated and transported from the Salt Flat basin is highly dependent on spatial, and temporal parameters. Geo-morphological, land cover, and wind current variations affect the amount and type of surface material and aerosols that will be produced at different areas of the Salt Flat basin floor. For the duration of the study the Salt Flat did not appear to be a biasing agent for the dust that is received in the GUMO IMPROVE sampler. Thus the IMPROVE network at Guadalupe Mountains National Park appears to be a valid regional sampler that is not greatly influenced by emissions from the Salt Flat basin. A major contribution of this study was to provide independent analysis of local and regional dust composition to validate the effectiveness of GUMO as an effective regional sampler. (Abstract shortened by UMI.) ^

Subject Area

Geology|Environmental Sciences|Remote Sensing

Recommended Citation

Perez, Adriana Evangelina, "Application of integrated remote sensing and GIS technologies to geoenvironmental issues in far west Texas and southern New Mexico" (2008). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3310677.