Fluvial and Eolian Depositional Systems, Paleosols, and Paleoclimate: Late Cenozoic Ogallala and BlackWater Draw Formations, Southern High Plains, Texas and New Mexico

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1995

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The late Tertiary Ogallala Formation contains the Ogallala (High Plains) aquifer, which is the major source for water for agricultural and domestic use on the Southern High Plains of Texas and New Mexico and the overlying perched aquifers. This study, which is based on outcrop and subsurface data including both log and core information, was undertaken to provide regional geologic information necessary to evaluate and provide information for the Department of Energy's (DOE's) efforts to remediate contamination of the vadose zone and of the perched aquifer above the Ogallala aquifer at the DOE's Pantex Plant in eastern Carson County. Deposition of the basal fluvial sediments of the Ogallala Formation in northwestern Texas and eastern New Mexico was controlled by topography on the underlying erosional surface. Paleovalley-fill facies consist of heterogeneous gravelly and sandy ephemeral-stream deposits and sandy to clayey overbank deposits interbedded with and overlain by eolian sediments deposited as sand sheets and loess. Uplands on the pre-Ogallala erosional surface are overlain by similar eolian sediments. Buried calcic soils consisting mostly of CaCO3 nodules and filaments occur throughout the eolian facies.

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