Geological Mapping Using Legacy Geophysical Data in Las Vegas Valley

Friday, 19 December 2014
David Donovan, AquaPetrus, Las Vegas, NV, United States, Jim O'Donnell, BC-Geophysics, Boulder City, NV, United States and Kale McLin, KLM Geoscience, Las Vegas, NV, United States
In 2008-2011, Clark County, Building Department contracted with Optim to collect 10,700 Reflection Microtremor (ReMi) 600 ft seismic lines that cover most of the metropolitan area of Las Vegas and other outlying communities such as Moapa, Laughlin, Primm, and Coyote Spring. The County completed their goal of characterizing seismic susceptibility of the top 100 ft and the results are posted at http://gisgate.co.clark.nv.us/openweb/. The research question of the authors is: What additional geologic information can be inferred from the data, either through reprocessing, cross correlation of drill hole data or additional data collection?

An advantage of geophysical data is that it can be reprocessed to provide additional insight into the local geologic setting. The interpretation is also improved if combined with drill hole data and / or hydrologic information. It should be noted that there is also legacy geophysical data in limited areas collected by the USGS, primarily in conjunction with water well drilling, where some of the ReMi seismic data was collected.

An unexpected result of the ReMi survey was a clear delineation of current and paleo channels in Laughlin, Moapa, and Las Vegas. The geometry of the paleochanel, of the Colorado River, is well away from the current position. however the signal is very similar to modern streams such as the Muddy River.

Although the surficial geologic mapping in Las Vegas Valley was very detailed, and importantly, was performed prior to development; the new geophysical data provides better details of the lithologic properties of the units. That is it may be an excellent basis for remapping for specific properties related to engineering and hydrologic modeling.