Regional Strucutal Cross Sections, Mid-Permian to Quaternary Strata, Texas Panhandle and Eastern New Mexico

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McGookey, Douglas A.
Gustavson, Thomas C.
Hoadley, Ann D.

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The Palo Duro and Dalhart Basins of the Texas Panhandle and eastern New Mexico contain bedded Permian salts of sufficient thickness and depth to be considered potential sites 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 must be addressed if nuclear waste is to be stored in the Texas Panhandle 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).

Region I cross sections of mid-Permian to Quaternary strata in the Texas Panhandle and eastern 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 evaporite strata. Figure 1 is an index map depicting the locations of the cross sections. Stratigraphic nomenclature used on the cross sections is given in table 1.


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