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The Amarillo uplift consists of an en echelon series of fault blocks separating the Anadarko basin from the Palo Duro basin. The uplift is part of a northwest-southeast zone of basement weakness that extends from the Wichita Mountains in Oklahoma to southeastern Colorado.
Initial faulting, related to the opening of the southern Oklahoma aulacogen, took place from late Precambrian through Middle Cambrian time. Renewed movement in the Late Mississippian or Early Pennsylvanian, probably of a left-lateral transcurrent nature, broke the Amarillo uplift into a series of rhomb grabens and rhomb horsts. The Lefors basin, for example, in Gray County is a small rhomb graben 4 mi (6.4 km) by 8 mi (12.8 km) that contains in excess of 4,000 ft (1,200 m) of Pennsylvanian and Wolfcampian arkose ("granite wash"). The Amarillo uplift continued to subtly affect depositional patterns following its burial in Wolfcampian time.
Salt beds in the Clear Fork Formation (Leonardian) are purer and thicker in grabens where salt deposition proceeded at a faster rate relative to horsts. Recurrent motion on the Potter County fault in northern Potter and northeastern Oldham County produced cumulative displacements of 1,600 ft (488 m) on top of the Pennsylvanian, 800 ft (244 m) on Wolfcampian strata, 600 ft (183 m) on top of the Clear Fork Formation, and 450 ft (137 m) on the Dockum Group (Triassic). Post-Permian displacements are the result of both salt dissolution and minor structural movement. There is no direct evidence for Quaternary faulting, although the uplift is seismically active.
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