Fusulinid biostratigraphy of a carbonate-dominated section in the Patterson Hills, Guadalupe Mountains National Park, West Texas




Christie, Brandon Rahn

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The Patterson Hills lie within Guadalupe Mountains National Park in West Texas. Biostratigraphic research has been performed in surrounding areas, but the Patterson Hills remain largely unstudied. The study area is comprised of the Cherry Canyon and Bell Canyon formations. These carbonate formations are of interest in this location because they lack the interbedded sands units that historically have been used to define the formations in surrounding basinal areas. This study analyzed how the lithologic and fusulinid biostratigraphic characteristics of the carbonate-dominated setting within the Patterson Hills correlate to the more typical, time-equivalent carbonate members found elsewhere in the region.

Measurements of the rock units were taken in the field and samples were collected. The samples collected were analyzed biostratigraphically, and comparisons to well known, time equivalent rocks in the Guadalupe Mountains and Delaware Basin were performed.

The lithostratigraphic analysis revealed that the carbonate members within these two formations correlate well with the established stratigraphic succession, indicating that the absence of sand layers is most likely due to the paleogeographic positioning of the area while sediment was accumulating. The abundance of debris flows within many of the carbonate members is indicative of a fore-reef slope type setting. The fusulinid analysis supports the lithostratigraphic observations that were made.

These lithostratigraphic and biostratigraphic commonalities show that the formations comprising this carbonate-dominated setting correlate well to previously studied areas in the Guadalupe Mountains and the Delaware Basin.


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