Structural Geology and Tectonic History of the Palo Duro Basin, Texas Panhandle

Abstract

The Palo Duro Basin is a broad, structural low that occupies the southern part of the Texas Panhandle. It is separated from the Anadarko Basin to the north by a complex zone of horsts and grabens, which includes the Amarillo Uplift. The Matador Arch, an east-west-trending series of en echelon fault blocks, defines the southern margin of the Palo Duro Basin. Intrabasinal structures consist of small, isolated basement highs. The northwest-southeast structural grain of the region originated during the Precambrian or Early Paleozoic. Major deformation of the southern Texas Panhandle and formation of a depositional basin occurred in response to the Ancestral Rocky Mountain orogeny in the Pennsylvanian. Structural relief was reduced during the early Permian, as the entire region subsided to form the Permian Basin. Pennsylvanian and older structures continued to subtly influence deposition during the Permian, Triassic, Cretaceous, and Tertiary. This report examines the effects of Early Pennsylvanian and older structures on the geometry and depositional patterns of Phanerozoic strata preserved in the basin. The structural and stratigraphic data are then used to document the tectonic history of the basin.

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