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Large lake basins of the southern High Plains; ground-water control of their origin?

Warren W. Wood, Ward E. Sanford and C. C. Reeves
Large lake basins of the southern High Plains; ground-water control of their origin?
Geology (Boulder) (June 1992) 20 (6): 535-538


The origin of the approximately 40-50 topographically large lake basins on the southern High Plains of Texas and New Mexico has been an enigma. Previous workers have considered deflation or evaporite dissolution at depth and subsequent collapse as the most probable mechanisms. However, the eolian hypotheses have been unable to provide convincing arguments as to how the wind selectively erodes the thick, deflation-resistant calcrete "caprock" that is persistent over much of the southern High Plains. Furthermore, recent detailed studies on some of the basins show no significant evaporite dissolution at depth, and neither mechanism offers a satisfactory explanation as to why the basins are almost universally associated with subsurface topographic highs, or why they are absent where the High Plains aquifer thickness exceeds 60 m. We address these latter concerns and modify the deflation hypothesis by proposing that the calcrete caprock may never have been deposited in the areas now occupied by the basins. The absence of calcrete deposition is proposed to have resulted from high water tables caused by an increase in hydraulic gradient where aquifers thinned above bedrock highs. A high water table close to and/or intersecting the surface prevents deposition of calcrete, and, thus, the uncemented surface would be more susceptible to deflation than the surrounding calcrete-covered areas after decline of the water table. The rise in water table associated with bedrock highs is documented by numerical simulation using boundary conditions and hydrologic parameters representative of the southern High Plains.

ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: 20
Serial Issue: 6
Title: Large lake basins of the southern High Plains; ground-water control of their origin?
Affiliation: U. S. Geol. Surv., Reston, VA, United States
Pages: 535-538
Published: 199206
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 20
Accession Number: 1992-034404
Categories: GeomorphologyHydrogeology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. sect., sketch map
N32°04'60" - N32°30'00", W103°00'00" - W102°10'00"
N33°49'60" - N34°19'60", W103°00'00" - W102°34'60"
N33°19'60" - N33°49'60", W103°00'00" - W102°34'60"
N32°30'00" - N33°00'00", W103°00'00" - W102°10'00"
N33°19'60" - N33°52'00", W102°37'60" - W102°04'60"
N33°49'60" - N34°15'00", W102°37'00" - W102°04'60"
N32°00'00" - N33°34'60", W103°49'60" - W103°02'60"
N33°00'00" - N33°30'00", W102°01'60" - W101°30'00"
N32°04'60" - N32°32'60", W102°10'60" - W101°42'00"
N33°34'60" - N34°37'00", W103°57'00" - W103°02'60"
N33°00'00" - N33°25'00", W102°32'60" - W102°02'60"
Secondary Affiliation: Tex. Tech Univ., USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute.
Update Code: 1992
Program Name: USGSOPNon-USGS publications with USGS authors
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