Regional structural cross-sections, Mid-Permian to Quaternary strata, Texas Panhandle and eastern New Mexico; Mapping of Quaternary of Rolling Plains

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McGookey, Douglas A.

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University of Texas at Austin. Bureau of Economic Geology


The Palo Duro Basin of the Texas Panhandle and eastern New Mexico contains bedded Permian salts of sufficient thickness and depth for the basin to be considered as a potential site for long-term storage and isolation of high-level nuclear waste. Salt (primarily halite) is a desirable host rock because of its low permeability, high thermal conductivity, low moisture content, and high gamma-ray shielding properties (Johnson, 1976b). A major concern that was addressed during the waste isolation study of the Texas Panhandle region is the long-term integrity of the bedded-salt host rock. Areas where salt has been removed by dissolution have been identified beneath the Southern High Plains, along the eastern and western escarpments of the Southern High Plains, and along the Canadian River valley (Gustavson and others, 1980b; Presley, 1980a, 1980b; Gustavson and Finley, 1985; Gustavson, 1986). Regional cross sections of mid-Permian to Quaternary strata in the Texas Panhandle and east- ern New Mexico illustrate lithologic and structural relations that are interpreted to have resulted from the regional dissolution of salt and the collapse of overlying strata. The cross sections were constructed using gamma-ray logs, sample logs, and surface geologic maps (Handford, 1980a; McGillis, 1980). Gamma-ray logs are shown on the cross sections because they best demonstrate variations in evap- orite strata. Figure 1 is an index map depicting the locations of the cross sections. Stratigraphic nomen- clature used on the cross sections is given in table 1.


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