Carbonate Petrology of the Reef Trail Member SC1 Primary Reference Section (Bell Canyon Formation, Latest Middle Permian Series), Patterson Hills, West Texas




Agbim, Chinenye Rita

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The Reef Trail Member is the uppermost unit of the Bell Canyon Formation of the Upper Guadalupian Series/Late Capitanian Stage. The SC1 section was designated the principal reference section for the Reef Trail Member due to its accessibility and completeness. The Reef Trail Member is also exposed in the Reef Trail Reference Section (RTR1) with a known slope paleoecological origin, and the Little Lamar Roadcut (LLR), Seven Heart Gap (7HG), and in the "E" sections of the Apache Mountains-all with basinal depositional history. Previous workers have adequately studied the SC1's stratigraphic configuration and biostratigraphy. Up until this work, the Reef Trail Member had never been the focus of a published petrographic study and its paleoecological setting was unclear. The lack of clarity stems from the position of the SC1 section on an isolated, dipping fault block several kilometers south of RTR1 and LLR, making stratigraphic relationships between them a complicated correlation problem.The SC1 thin sections were analyzed to provide a complete description of the standard microfacies types (SMFT) and to interpret the depositional history. The SMFT was compared to that of the slope and basin samples. Findings indicate that the SC1 section was deposited in foreslope to toe-of-slope settings evidenced by intercalations of autochthonous pelagic mudstone and allochthonous platform and Capitan Reef-derived materials-related to mechanical deposition by gravity flows.



Carbonate Petrology, Delaware Basin, Guadalupe Mountains, Limestones, Reef Trail Member, Thin section analysis