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Friday Field Foto #52: Permian Reef Trail, west Texas

May 23, 2008

I’m headed out for a short trip out of town, so this is really quick.

If you ever find yourself within a day’s travel of Guadalupe Mountains Nat’l Park in west Texas and southeastern New Mexico (which you should), make sure you take a day to do the Permian Reef Trail in McKittrick Canyon. Not only is it beautiful, but the trail is marked with signs explaining the geology of the area.

Today’s photo is a view from near the top of ridge looking out to the northeast. Essentially, the relief shown there is a product of going from reef crest to adjacent basin. In other words, the modern-day topography reflects the paleotopography of a reef rimming an ocean basin during the Permian!

Happy Friday!

see all my posts tagged with west Texas here

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 23, 2008 4:39 am

    Ah, the McKittrick Canyon Death March – I remember it well! The views and the geology are worth it though. One of my favourite field places in the world, to the extent that I dragged my husband there on holiday. He refused to do the Reef Trail, so we just walked along to the Lodge, But that was impressive enough for him!

  2. May 23, 2008 8:36 am

    That looks like an impressive and interesting place – haven’t done much traveling around or geologizing in Texas. Thanks for the info.

  3. May 24, 2008 5:56 am

    In the last sedimentology class back in January we actually had an exercise using rock samples from the that Permian Reef Complex. Aim was to reconstruct a possible reef settings based on the samples. There are some excellent websites about it, too.

  4. May 26, 2008 9:14 am

    “The views and the geology are worth it though. One of my favourite field places in the world, to the extent that I dragged my husband there on holiday.”

    Agreed … I think the information put together on the Permian Reef Trail does a great job of satisfying both geo-nerds who crave details while keeping the big picture in focus so non-experts can learn a lot too. Very well done.

    Silver Fox … Guadalupe Mtns Nat’l Park is a must! Given your penchant for extensional regions, you’d like the Salt Basin Graben, which bounds the western side of the Guads and is the easternmost rift basin in the southern BnR (although there is some debate about its relationship with the Rio Grande Rift as well).

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