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The Guadalupe Mountains of south-central New Mexico and west Texas occupy a unique physiographic and structural position. Physiographically, the mountains lie on the boundary between the block-faulted Basin and Range province to the west and the stable Great Plains province to the east. Structurally, the mountains form the northwestern margin of the Delaware basin, a prolific petroleum-producing region.
A combination of field observation, subsurface correlation, and map and photo interpretation has revealed four important phases in the complex structural evolution of the Guadalupe Mountains and adjacent Delaware basin.
Pennsylvanian to Early Permian (Wolfcampian) faulting and folding created the Huapache monocline and initially defined the limits of the Delaware basin.
Permian flexing and differential subsidence accentuated the shelf-to-basin transition and resulted in deposition of the prograding carbonate shelf sediments now exposed in the Guadalupe Mountains.
Late Cretaceous to early Tertiary (Laramide) deformation created the Carlsbad and Guadalupe Ridge folds, a series of anticlines and synclines in the eastern mountains.
Late Tertiary (post-Ogallala) to Pleistocene uplift and tilting brought the mountains to essentially their present configuration. The western border of the uplift is defined by Basin and Range-type normal faulting, whereas the eastern margin is both faulted and monoclinally folded. Minor faulting has been active into Holocene time.
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