Although the Aguja Formation (West Texas, southwestern USA) and its fossil vertebrate fauna have been known for over a century, its basic stratigraphic requisites (type area and type section) have not been formally documented. The formation is herein subdivided into a series of formal members, and a lectostratotype section is proposed. Lithostratigraphic and biostratigraphic subdivisions are documented and integrated with geochronologic data to provide an age model for the formation. Four terrestrial vertebrate biozones are proposed. There are at least four major depositional intervals represented in the Aguja and intertonguing Pen Formations. An initial progradational deltaic succession is recorded by the La Basa Sandstone and lower part of the Abajo Shale Members of the Aguja Formation. A second phase of deposition resulted in a retrogradational shoreface succession that includes the upper part of the Abajo Shale, overlying Rattlesnake Mountain Sandstone Member, and lower part of the McKinney Springs Tongue of the Pen Formation, up to a skeletal phosphate bed interpreted to represent the maximum flooding surface. The third phase of deposition comprises a progradational deltaic succession that includes the upper part of the McKinney Springs Tongue, Terlingua Creek Sandstone Member of the Aguja Formation, and lower part of the Alto Shale Member of the Aguja Formation. This third succession records eastward migration of the strandline and withdrawal of the Western Interior Seaway from the Big Bend region. The fourth phase of deposition comprises a series of aggradational fluvial channel and floodplain successions that form the upper part of the Alto Shale Member and is coincident with redirection of stream flow to the southeast. This interval is much thicker in the central part of the Big Bend region, thins to the southwest and northeast, and likely records initial subsidence in the Laramide Tornillo Basin. The upper part of this succession was also contemporaneous with a series of basaltic pyroclastic eruptions, the westernmost expression of the Balcones igneous province. A dramatic constriction in the southern entrance to the Western Interior Seaway through the Gulf of Mexico occurred during this final phase in deposition of the Aguja Formation and corresponds to a shift of stream flow southeastward and to an outbreak of local pyroclastic eruptions. Regional uplift associated with this episode of magmatism is likely responsible for closing the southern aperture of the Western Interior Seaway.

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