About This Item
Share This Item
The distribution of Late Precambrian(?) through Quaternary strata in the Palo Duro basin and surrounding uplifts documents recurrent motion on Precambrian-age basement faults. Basement blocks have been uplifted with little tilting or folding of overlying strata along a system of northwest-southeast oriented faults, part of a regional trend extending from central Colorado to southwestern Oklahoma. The orientation of basement terranes in Colorado and that of a 50-mi (80-km) long mylonite zone in east-central New Mexico suggest a Precambrian age for the faults.
An Arkosic sandstone overlies basement and underlies a Cambrian(?) quartzose sandstone in a few Palo Duro basin wells. It may represent debris shed from active fault blocks during the opening of the southern Oklahoma aulocogen in the Late Precambrian or Early Cambrian. Ordovician carbonates thin or are missing beneath Mississippian carbonates on some fault blocks, indicating a post-Ordovician-pre-Mississippian period of faulting.
The greatest amount of deformation occurred during the Pennsylvanian. Thickness, distribution, and facies of sediments were controlled by the location of active faults. Lower Pennsylvanian strata thin by up to 50% across some structures. Fault blocks provided sources of arkosic debris and loci for carbonate buildups throughout the Pennsylvanian and Early Permian. Around the periphery of the basin, Late Pennsylvanian or Early Permian faulting caused a wedging out of older units beneath the Wolfcamp.
Permian, Triassic, and Neogene units, along with present topography, all have been subtly affected by basement structures. The entire section thins over basement highs. Middle and Upper Permian evaporites are thicker in structural lows. The overlying Dockum Group (Triassic) and Ogallala Formation (Neogene), both nonmarine clastic units, become finer grained over basement highs. Present topographic highs coincide with some basement highs. Also, in some places remarkably straight stream segments parallel basement faults. Low-level seismic activity, primarily north and west of the Palo Duro basin, suggests continuing motion on at least some of the faults.
End_of_Article - Last_Page 433------------