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Basal Gulfian and Comanchean Section, Anguila Fault Zone and Santa Elena Canyon, Big Bend National Park, Trans-Pecos Texas, and Chihuahua, Mexico

J. B. Stevens
J. B. Stevens
Department of Geology, Lamar University Box 10031, L.U. Station, Beaumont, Texas 77710
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January 01, 1988


Santa Elena Canyon and the Anguila Fault Zone northwest of the canyon are occupied by the Rio Grande. These features separate Mesa de Anguila, the westernmost part of Big Bend National Park, Brewster County, Texas, from northeastern Chihuahua, Mexico (Fig. 1). The traverse begins on the river at Lajitas (reached by FM 170), southwestern Brewster County, about 2 mi (3.2 km) above the entry to an upper canyon, and ends at the lower end of Santa Elena Canyon, where Terlingua Creek joins the Rio Grande from the northwest. This location is accessible by a paved park road. The canyons are accessible only by river, a trip best made in a sturdy rubber raft. Travel through the canyons is strictly regulated by the Big Bend National Park administration, particularly with respect to safety equipment and camping. Permits may be obtained at a ranger station at Lajitas, or at park headquarters at Panther Junction. The simplest procedure is to arrange a guided tour through businesses in Lajitas, Terlingua Ghost Town 12.5 mi (20.1 km) east of Lajitas on FM 170, or Study Butte (junction of Texas 118 and FM 170) 16.9 mi (27.2 km) east. A permit is necessary to collect rock samples in any national park; even if the intent is to restrict sampling to the Mexican side of the river, it would be best to obtain such a permit. Santa Elena Canyon and the lesser (but still impressive) canyon immediately upstream provide access at and near river level to virtually

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DNAG, Centennial Field Guides

South-Central Section of the Geological Society of America

O. T. Hayward
O. T. Hayward
Geology Department, Baylor University, Waco, Texas 76798
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Geological Society of America
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Publication date:
January 01, 1988




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