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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 65 (1981)

Issue: 4. (April)

First Page: 761

Last Page: 761

Title: Facies Patterns and Depositional Models of Permian Sabkha Complex--Red Cave Formation, Texas Panhandle: ABSTRACT

Author(s): C. Robertson Handford

Article Type: Meeting abstract


The Red Cave Formation (Permian, Leonard Series) in the Texas Panhandle consists of cyclic, red-bed clastic and carbonate-evaporite members that were deposited in an extensive coastal sabkha, desert wadi plain, and a carbonate inner shelf which bordered the northern Midland basin. Evaporite members were deposited in carbonate-evaporite crustal sabkhas and clastic members were deposited in mud-rich coastal to continental sabkhas.

North to south, red-bed wadi-plain facies pass into coastal sabkha facies and inner-shelf dolomite facies. In a Randall County core, vertical sequences commonly include slightly fossiliferous, faintly laminated to burrowed dolomitic mudstone and pellet wackestone overlain by cross-laminated oolitic or pellet packstone to grainstone, followed by algal-laminated dolomitic mudstone and nodular anhydrite in dolomite matrix. A progradational carbonate shoreline is inferred, with supratidal or sabkha evaporite to intertidal algal-mat and sand-flat environments passing seaward into a shallow, muddy subtidal inner shelf. Mud-rich sabkha sequences culminate with red to green mudstone and anhydrite above shoreline carbonates. Carbonate and evaporite facies pinch out generally toward the northwe t and northeast into wadi-plain red beds. These facies include ripple-drift cross-laminated siltstone and sandstone deposited in braided fluvial channels, adhesion-rippled siltstone, and red to green mudstone deposited in mud-flat and interchannel environments. Desiccation features, intraclasts, root zones, and paleosol horizons attest to subaerial exposure and probable nonmarine conditions.

Large-scale cyclicity of red-bed clastic and carbonate-evaporite members probably was controlled by the relative supply or fluctuating input of clastics to sabkhas by way of fluvial systems rather than by absolute sea-level changes.

Partial modern analogs to Red Cave sabkha depositional models are the coastal mud flats and alluvial fans in the northwestern Gulf of California, tidal flats and an ephemeral stream delta (Wooramel delta) in Gladstone Embayment, Shark Bay, Australia, and the Trucial Coast sabkhas in the Persian Gulf. Each setting has certain facets that are remarkably similar to intepreted paleoenvironments and lithofacies of the Red Cave Formation.

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