Geology of the Guadalupe Mountains, New Mexico


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After the discovery of oil in Permian rocks in Winkler County, Tex., in 1920, petroleum exploration intensified in adjacent parts of western Texas and southeastern New Mexico. Almost immediately unusual stratigraphic complexities were discovered in the Permian rocks. Thus began a long period of stratigraphic investigations, chiefly reconnaissance studies, of the Permian rocks of the Guadalupe Mountains of Texas and New Mexico. Before 1930 some of the complexities began to be resolved as several geologists almost simultaneously recognized the great barrier reef of Capitan age which separates rocks of radically different character. To the northwest is a great sequence of rocks deposited on a platform area, whereas to the southeast lie the rocks of the Delaware basin. The relations of the basin rocks to the rocks of the reef zone were lucidly described by P. B. King (1942, 1948), but confusion and differences of opinion continued about the relations of the shelf rocks to their correlatives in the basin. The present investigation is an attempt, by means of detailed areal mapping, to resolve the relations of the shelf-rock units to one another and to the reef and basin rocks and to clarify the confusing stratigraphic nomenclature.

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