New Mexico Geological Society
Fall Field Conference Guidebook – 73
Evaporite Karst of the Lower Pecos Region


Lewis Land, Issam Bou Jaoude, Peter Hutchinson, Kate Zeigler, Anne Jakle, Brittney Van Der Werff [editors]
2023, 152 pages.

Mirror Lake, one of seven sinkhole lakes, or cenotes, in Bottomless Lakes State Park, is located at the downgradient end of the regional hydrologic system in the Roswell Artesian Basin. Recharge to the artesian aquifer occurs on the Pecos Slope west of Roswell by direct infiltration from precipitation and by runoff from intermittent losing streams flowing eastward across the San Andres limestone outcrop. Groundwater flows east and south, then upward through leaky overlying gypsum confining beds of the Seven Rivers Formation in the Pecos River Valley, where the potentiometric surface in the artesian aquifer is above ground level. Dissolution of gypsum beds caused by this upward artesian flow created and continues to enlarge the cenotes along the Seven Rivers Escarpment. Overflow from Lea Lake, the southernmost and largest of the Bottomless Lakes sinkholes, amounts to roughly 15,000 acre-ft/yr and has caused an expansion of wetlands to the west, which are now hydraulically connected to the Pecos River, resulting in a net gain in streamflow and an increase in salinity in the river downstream from the park.

The gentle eastward regional dip of the area is locally reversed along the escarpment, where strata of the Seven Rivers Formation dip abruptly southwest by as much as 40°. This local dip reversal, clearly visible in the walls of Mirror Lake, is probably not tectonic but the result of subsurface dissolution of gypsum by ascending artesian groundwater and consequent slumping of overlying beds.

There are two versions of this guidebook available, the complete guidebook (152 pages), and a version with just the road logs that is spiral bound (76 pages).

ISBN: 1-58546-117-2
Softcover: $65.00 Buy Now

ISBN: 1-58546-118-0
Softcover: $19.95 Buy Now
Spiral Bound, contains road logs only

Table of Contents:

Note —Downloads of the papers below are free. Road logs, mini-papers, and some other sections of recent guidebooks are only available in print.

Front Matter: (includes Dedication, President's Message, & Conference Organizer's Message)

Download (3.25 MB PDF)

Roadlogs: (each includes listed mini-papers)

Pre-conference field trip one: Guadalupe Peak trail, Guadalupe Mountains National Park
— Lewis Land, pp. 2-6. [SUMMARY]
Pre-conference field trip two: Cornudas Mountains
— Evan J. Owen and Virginia L. McLemore, pp. 7-14. [SUMMARY]
Pre-conference field trip three: Carlsbad Cavern from Washington Ranch to Whites City, Walnut Canyon, scenic view of Delaware Basin, and Carlsbad Caverns
— Issam Bou Jaode, pp. 15-26. [SUMMARY]
First-Day road log: From Washington Ranch to state line Castile Gypsum roadcut, Rader debris flow, Brushy Canyon submarine channel sand, Salt Basin, Capitan Reef Overlook, Chosa Draw evaporite karst features, and Parks Ranch Cave
— Lewis Land, pp. 27-39. [SUMMARY]


Earliest Cretaceous age for a Castile Butte in the Delaware Basin
— Victor J. Polyak, Douglas W. Kirkland, and Yemane Asmerom, pp. 38-39.
Second-day road log: From Washington Ranch to Rattlesnake Spring and Black River, Carlsbad Spring and Carlsbad Flume, and Gypsum caves of the Seven Rivers Hills
— Lewis Land, pp. 41-52. [SUMMARY]
Third-Day Road Log: From Washington Ranch to the Seven Rivers Embayment and Bottomless Lakes State Park
— Lewis Land, pp. 53-63. [SUMMARY]


Late Middle Pleistocene OSL Age of the Upper Gatuña Formation, Southeastern New Mexico
— Stephen A. Hall and Ronald J. Goble, pp. 62-63.
Field trip and road log references (402 KB PDF)
— Lewis Land, Issam Bou Jaode, Peter Hutchinson, Kate Zeigler, Anne Jakle, and Brittney Van Der Werff, [eds.], pp. 64-67.


Sulfuric acid speleogenesis at the new section level of Carlsbad Cavern roughly 6 Ma (4.17 MB PDF)
— Victor Polyak, Paula Provencio, and Bill McIntosh, pp. 76-80. [ABSTRACT]
Quaternary age Of The Gatuña Formation at Livingston Ridge (51.68 MB PDF)
— Snir Attia, Matthew T. Heizler, and Julia Ricci, pp. 103-111. [ABSTRACT] Supplemental Data:
Critical mineral resources in the Cornudas Mountains, Otero County, New Mexico (2.48 MB PDF)
— Virginia T. McLemore, Nels Iverson, Mason Woodard, Snir Attia, and Evan J. Owen, pp. 132-141. [ABSTRACT]

Back Matter: (usually includes a stratigraphic column and/or correlation chart)

Download (247 KB PDF)

Recommended Guidebook Citation:

  1. Land, Lewis; Bou Jaoude, Issam; Hutchinson, Peter; Zeigler, Kate; Jakle, Anne; Van Der Werff, Brittney, 2023, Evaporite Karst of the Lower Pecos Region, New Mexico Geological Society, Guidebook, 73rd Annual Field Conference, 152 pp. ISBN: 1-58546-117-2