Abstract

Mt. Blanco, on the eastern edge of the Southern High Plains of Texas, contains stratigraphic features significant in interpreting the late Cenozoic history of the region and the vertebrate paleontology of the Great Plains; however, the stratigraphic relations are confused in the literature or are unreported. Mt. Blanco is the type locality for the Blanco Formation and the Blanco Local Fauna, which occurs throughout North America and is the type fauna for the Blancan Land Mammal Age in North America. Here also occur exposures of the Blackwater Draw Formation, an extensive (∼120000 km2) eolian sheet that is the surficial cover of the region and contains the 1.4 Ma Guaje Ash and several buried soils. A reexamination of the section shows that (1) the Blackwater Draw Formation, an eolian deposit, contains three well-expressed buried soils (5 YR hues, argillic horizons ≥1 m thick, Stages III and IV calcic horizons) and the similar regional surface soil (Paleustalf); (2) the Guaje Ash is within the lower Blackwater Draw Formation but is separated from the Blanco Formation, a lacustrine unit, by about 1 m of sediment, including the lowest buried soil; and (3) the lowest buried soil shows a Stage IV calcrete formed at the top of the Blanco Formation and the base of the Black-water Draw Formation and probably took about 200 ka to form. These new data suggest that deposition of the type Blanco sediments may have ended by about 1.6 Ma or earlier. Since that time, the Blackwater Draw Formation has accumulated episodically; periods of nondeposition are characterized by landscape stability and pedogenesis.

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