Tectonic History of the Palo Duro Basin Texas Panhandle

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Budnik, Roy T.

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The Palo Duro Basin is one of a dozen or more intracratonic basins formed as a result of large-scale plate motions in the Late Paleozoic (Goldstein, 1981; Kluth and Coney, 1981). The margins of the basin are defined by a series of uplifts that developed during the Pennsylvanian (fig. 1). The Palo Duro Basin is bounded on the northeast by the Amarillo-Wichita Uplift, on the northwest by the Bravo Dome, and on the west by the Sierra Grande and other smaller uplifts, all of which were important sources of sediment. To the south, the Matador Arch served as a sediment barrier and locus of carbonate buildups, as did a number of smaller, generally unnamed, uplifts to the east.

The Palo Duro Basin includes sediments deposited in two temporally separate but spatially overlapping basins (Budnik and Smith, 1982). The initial basin, a northwest extension of the Hardeman Basin (fig. 2), formed as a result of the foundering of a Mississippian shelf during the latest Mississippian or early Pennsylvanian (Budnik and Smith, 1982; Dutton and others, 1982). Up to 2,500 ft (750 m) of Pennsylvanian and a similar thickness of Wolfcampian (Lower Permian), primarily marine, sediments were deposited during this phase (Dutton and others, 1982). A second basin (effectively the northern shelf of the Midland Basin; fig. 3) formed in response to regional subsidence of the much larger Permian Basin. In excess of 4,000 ft (1,200 m) of restricted marine to non-marine sediments were deposited nearly continuously throughout the mid- and late Permian (Leonardian, Guadalupian, and Ochoan; Presley, 1980).


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