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Abstract: Middle Proterozoic Tectonic Activity in West Texas and Eastern New Mexico from Analysis of Gravity and Magnetic Anomalies

Donald C. Adams, G. R. Keller

The Precambrian history of west Texas and eastern New Mexico is complex, consisting of four events: Early Proterozoic orogenic activity (1630 to 1800 Ma), formation of the western granite-rhyolite province (WGRP) (1340 to 1410 Ma), Grenville age tectonics (1116 to 1232 Ma), and middle Proterozoic extension possibly related to mid-continent rifting (1086 to 1109 Ma). Pre-Grenville tectonics, Grenville tectonics, and mid-continent rifting are represented in this area by the Abilene gravity minimum (AGM) and bimodal igneous rocks, which are probably younger. We have used gravity modeling and the comparison of gravity and magnetic anomalies with rock types reported from wells penetrating Precambrian basement to study the AGM and middle Proterozoic extension in this area.

The AGM is an east-northeast-trending, 600 km long, gravity low, which extends from the Texas-Oklahoma border through the central basin platform (CBP) to the Delaware basin. This feature appears to predate formation of the mafic body in the CBP (1163 Ma) and is most likely related to Pre-Grenville tectonics, possibly representing a continental margin arc batholith.

Evidence of middle Proterozoic extension is found in the form of igneous bodies in the CBP, the Van Horn uplift, the Franklin Mountains, and the Sacramento Mountains. Analysis of gravity and magnetic anomalies shows that paired gravity and magnetic highs are related to mafic intrusions in the upper crust. Mapping of middle Proterozoic igneous rocks and the paired anomalies outlines a 530 km diameter area of distributed east-west-oriented extension. The Debaca-Swisher terrain of shallow marine and clastic sedimentary rocks is age correlative with middle Proterozoic extension. These rocks may represent the lithology of possible Proterozoic exploration targets. Proterozoic structures were reactivated during the Paleozoic, affecting both the structure and deposition in the Permian basin.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90980©1994 AAPG Southwest Section Meeting, Ruidoso, New Mexico, April 24-26, 1994