Insights to progradational development of the northwest Delaware Basin margin from Patterson Hills outcrops (Guadalupe Mountains National Park), West Texas




Hughes, Joshua Neil

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The resolution of the northwest Delaware Basin margin in the Patterson Hills is much lower than in the Guadalupe Mountains. This study examined the positional details and timing of progradation of the Capitan Reef into the Delaware Basin within the Patterson Hills, and created a more concise picture of spatial and temporal aspects of progradation.

Patterson Hills outcrops were examined, and the contact between the reef and the basinal limestone member it was prograding over was mapped in more detail than ever before. Previous work showing the direction of basin progradation at various times was analyzed, and corrections are suggested using evidence from the field.

Results include a map showing the contact between the Capitan Reef and the Rader Limestone Member of the Bell Canyon Formation, where only the general Bell Canyon Formation was shown to be present before. This result, paired with positions of the reef prograding over older limestone members, gives an idea about how the reef progradation changed over time. Improvements to the generally accepted limestone member location and progradation directions first proposed by P. B. King in 1948 are presented, showing a more eastward movement than previously believed.


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Capitan, Guadalupe, Patterson, progradation, Rader, stratigraphy



Earth and Environmental Science