The 15-minute Agua Fria quadrangle in southwestern Brewster County, Texas, is arid, sparsely vegetated, and includes diverse topographic features that result chiefly from complex structure and variation in rock resistance to erosion. The mountainous and more complicated southern part of the area has suffered much deformation by igneous intrusions and faulting.
The Comanche series is represented by the Devils River limestone, Grayson marl, and Buda limestone. A disconformity separates it from the overlying gradational Gulf series which consists of the Boquillas, Terlingua, and Aguja formations. Because the Boquillas-Terlingua boundary problem is critical and unsettled, lithologic members and paleontologic zones in that section are described in considerable detail. A distinctive 50-foot rock unit, herein named the Fizzle Flat lentil, occurs about the middle of the Boquillas-Terlingua sequence. A widespread angular unconformity separates the Gulf series from the Tertiary Buck Hill volcanic series. Quaternary terrace gravels occur at different levels, and other alluvial deposits have been mapped.
The Tertiary hypabyssal igneous rocks are alkalic and form stocks, laccoliths, plugs, sills, dikes, and bysmaliths or trap-door domes. Several lava flows are preserved in the southwest part of the quadrangle. Metamorphic effects generally are slight.
The area is part of the Big Bend sunken block. Except where influenced by intrusive masses, a pattern of northwesterly normal faults establishes the structural trend of the area. Step faults are common. Most of the major faults are downthrown to the southwest with the huge intervening blocks tilted gently to the northeast. That much of the fault pattern was established during the Laramide revolution and that faulting recurred along the old lines of weakness fairly late in Tertiary time are postulated.