Digital Outcrop Model of Stratigraph and Breccias of the Southern Franklin Mountains, El Paso, Texas
Jerome A. Bellian, Charles Kerans, John Repetski, 2012. "Digital Outcrop Model of Stratigraph and Breccias of the Southern Franklin Mountains, El Paso, Texas", Great American Carbonate Bank: The Geology and Economic Resources of the Cambrian—Ordovician Sauk Megasequence of Laurentia, James Derby, Richard Fritz, Susan Longacre, William Morgan, Charles Sternbach
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This chapter reviews and synthesizes the lithostratigraphy, biostratigraphy, chronostratigra-phy, and breccia types of the southwestern part of the great American carbonate bank in the southern Franklin Mountains (SFM), ElPaso, Texas. Primary stratigraphic units of focus are the Lower Ordovician El Paso and Upper Ordovician Montoya Groups. These groups preserve breccias formedbycollapse ofapaleocave system. Precambrianand Silurian units are discussed in the context of breccia clast composition and relative timing of breccia emplacement. Specific attention is paid to the juxtaposition of the top-Sauk second-order supersequence unconformity between the El Paso and Montoya Groups and its relationship to breccias above and below it. The unconformity represents a 10-m.y. exposure event that separates Upper and Lower Ordovician carbonates. The top-Sauk exposure has been previously documented as a significant karst horizon across much of North America.
The breccias of the SFM were previously described as the result of collapsed paleocaves that formed during subaerial exposure related to the Sauk-Tippecanoe unconformity. A new approach in this work uses traditional field mapping combined with high-resolution (<1-m [<3.3-ft] point spacing) airborne light detection and ranging (LIDAR) data over 24 km2 (9 mi2) to map breccia and relevant stratal surfaces. Airborne LIDAR data were used to create a digital outcrop model of the SFM from which a detailed (1:2000 scale) geologic map was created. The geologic map includes formation, fault, and breccia contacts. The digital outcrop model was used to interpret three-dimensional spatial relationships of breccia bodies with respect to the current understanding of the tectonic and stratigraphic evolution of the SFM. The data presented here are used to discuss potential stratigraphic, temporal, and tectonic controls on the formation of caves within the study area that eventually collapsed to form the breccias currently exposed in outcrop.
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Great American Carbonate Bank: The Geology and Economic Resources of the Cambrian—Ordovician Sauk Megasequence of Laurentia
The Great American Carbonate Bank (GACB) comprises the carbonates (and related siliciclastics) of the Sauk megasequence, which were deposited on and around the Laurentian continent during Cambrian through earliest Middle Ordovician, forming one of the largest carbonate-dominated platforms of the Phanerozoic. The Sauk megasequence, which ranges upwards of several thousand meters thick along the Bank's margin, consists of distinctive Lithofacies and fauna that are widely recognized throughout Laurentia. A refined biostratigraphic zonation forms the chronostratigraphic framework for correlating disparate outcrops and subsurface data, providing the basis for interpreting depositional patterns and the evolution of the Bank. GACB hydrocarbon fields have produced 4 BBO and 21 TCFG, mostly from reservoirs near the Sauk-Tippecanoe unconformity. The GACB is also a source of economic minerals and construction material and, locally, serves as either an aquifer or repository for injection of waste material. This Memoir comprises works on biostratigraphy, ichnology, stratigraphy, depositional facies, diagenesis, and petroleum and mineral resources of the GACB. It is dedicated to James Lee Wilson who first conceived of this publication and who worked on many aspects of the GACB during his long and illustrious career.