Conodont biostratigraphy of a carbonate-dominated Delaware Mountain Group section in the Patterson Hills, Guadalupe Mountains National Park, West Texas
The purpose of this study is to use conodont biostratigraphy to correlate limestone units in the Patterson Hills to standard sections of sandstone-rich Cherry Canyon and Bell Canyon formations. This is necessary because the lithology in the Patterson Hills consists of stacked carbonates that lack the sand- and siltstone deposits that usually separate the limestone members of these formations. Bulk rock samples were collected and processed for conodonts from four new measured sections determined to be upper Cherry Canyon and Bell Canyon (upper Delaware Mountain Group) equivalents. The overall results confirm correlation with the South Wells and Manzanita members of the Cherry Canyon Formation, and the Hegler, Pinery and Rader members of the Bell Canyon Formation. Results also include recognition of a new species of Jinogondolella in the Manzanita Member, which is the probable ancestor of J. denticulata based on the striking characteristic of high denticles along the length of the carina. Because the limestone members are time-equivalent, a conclusion is drawn that the basinal sands found elsewhere in the Delaware Mountain Group bypassed the Patterson Hills area and were deposited further into the basin. That strongly suggests that the Patterson Hills carbonates were deposited close to the Capitan Reef margin in a high slope position.