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The Ogallala Formation (Neogene) is a widespread syntectonic alluvial apron that was shed eastward from the Rio Grande rift and related uplifts in Colorado and New Mexico during Basin and Range extension.
In the Texas Panhandle, the Ogallala completely buried Ancestral Rocky Mountain (Pennsylvanian) structures. Renewed movement on these older structures during the Neogene influenced the thickness and facies distribution of the Ogallala. The Ogallala thickens into the Palo Duro, Dalhart, and Anadarko basins. Major distributary channels on Ogallala alluvial fans coincide with the axes of these basins, whereas major interchannel areas overlie intervening uplifts. Second-order structures subtly influenced the unit as well. For example, in the Carson basin, a Pennsylvanian rhomb graben along the Amarillo uplift, the Ogallala is over 250 m (820 ft) thick compared with 90 m (275 ft) in adjacent areas. Within the Palo Duro basin, local highs controlled the distribution of thin, interchannel fl od-basin and lacustrine deposits. Thicker, braided-stream channel deposits follow local lows.
Later movement on the Amarillo uplift broadly folded the Ogallala. The southern high plains surface subtly reflects basement structure, with topographic highs overlying basement highs, suggesting post-Ogallala deformation within the Palo Duro basin.
The Amarillo uplift is approximately perpendicular to the Rio Grande rift and parallel to the direction of Basin and Range extension. Thus, the stress field that produced the rift may have caused strike-slip movement and reactivation of the Carson basin along the Amarillo uplift.
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