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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 65 (1981)

Issue: 4. (April)

First Page: 762

Last Page: 763

Title: Deposition and Diagenesis of Horquilla Carbonates, Big Hatchet Peak Section, Pedregosa Basin: ABSTRACT

Author(s): Alonzo D. Jacka, Sam Thompson, III

Article Type: Meeting abstract


In the Big Hatchet Peak section the Pennsylvanian-Permian (Morrowan to Wolfcampian) Horquilla Formation is 3,230 ft (985 m) thick and consists of shallow shelf carbonates which accumulated along the outer shelf margin of the Alamo Hueco basin.

The lower Horquilla (Morrowan to Desmoinesian) is 1,363

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ft (415 m) thick and consists largely of micrite and fossiliferous limestones with abundant chert in many beds. Depositional cycles, consisting of grainstones, packstones, and wackestones, occur throughout the interval.

The upper Horquilla (Desmoinesian to Wolfcampian) is 1,867 ft (569 m) thick and consists of limestones and dolostones; chert is less abundant than in the lower Horquilla. Phylloid algal biostromes are present in some upper Horquilla limestone intervals. Six laterally extensive dolostone units range in thickness from 48 to 154 ft (15 to 47 m).

In both upper and lower Horquilla limestones many grainstones were subjected to intertidal and subtidal cementation within marine environments. Micritization of ooids and skeletal grains, which also developed in the marine environment, is abundant in most Horquilla limestones.

Nearly all Horquilla limestone intervals bear two or more of the following evidences of having stabilized within fresh-water diagenetic environments: (1) selective dissolution of aragonitic shells and formation of hollow micrite envelopes; (2) precipitation of meteoric vadose and phreatic calcite cements; (3) recrystallization of original lime mud matrix; (4) replacement by silica which first nucleated within ooids, shells, and peloids and then invaded the surrounding matrix to form nodules or discontinuous layers. At one stage most Horquilla limestones contained large volumes of primary and/or secondary porosity, all or virtually all of which has been occluded by subsequent precipitation of marine or meteoric cements.

All upper Horquilla dolostones were formed by neomorphic dolomitization of originally unstable carbonate sediments. At one stage considerable secondary intercrystalline and moldic porosity existed in most dolostone intervals; much of this was subsequently obliterated by epitaxial dolomite cements on original rhombs and by coarse recrystallization. Gravitational calcite cements partly filled many of the larger voids, and outer tips of many of these microstalactites subsequently became paramorphically dolomitized.

In the upper Horquilla, anhydrite porphyroblasts and nodules were emplaced in many limestone and dolostone intervals by hypersaline groundwaters to form tertiary (third order) stairstep molds, many of which are still open in dolostones.

The only preserved porosity is in dolostones and these may represent potential hydrocarbon reservoirs in the subsurface.

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Copyright 1997 American Association of Petroleum Geologists