Trace fossils from the Lower Permian Yeso Group, Otero Mesa, Otero County, New Mexico
Spencer G. Lucas


At Otero Mesa in Otero County, southern New Mexico, the Otero Mesa Formation of the Lower Permian Yeso Group is ~ 52 m of red-bed siliciclastic mudstone and ripple-laminated sandstone. Fossils from the Otero Mesa Formation documented here are walchian conifers, invertebrate ichnofossils (Augerinoichnus helicoidalis, Dendroidichnites irregulare, Scoyenia gracilis) and tetrapod footprints (Batrachichnus salamandroides, Dromopus lacertoides, Dimetropus ichnosp.). The ichnoassemblage of the Otero Mesa Formation closely resembles those of the Abo and Robledo Mountains Formations to the west, and well represents the Dimetropus ichnocoenosis of the Batrachichnus ichnofacies. It supports correlation of the Otero Mesa Formation to the lithologically similar Lee Ranch Member of the Abo Formation; both units yield ichnoassemblages of the Dromopus biochron. This correlation identifies a diachronous base of the Yeso Group in the Sacramento Mountains-Otero Mesa area. Correlation of the Lee Ranch Tongue of the Abo Formation and Otero Mesa Formation to the Deer Mountain Red Shale Member of the Alacran Mountain Formation in the Hueco Mountains of West Texas identifies a single, red-bed interval during the late Wolfcampian and thus is the most parsimonious event stratigraphic correlation.


  1. Lucas, Spencer G., 2014, Trace fossils from the Lower Permian Yeso Group, Otero Mesa, Otero County, New Mexico, in: Geology of the Sacramento Mountains region, Rawling, Geoffrey; McLemore, Virginia T.; Timmons, Stacy; Dunbar, Nelia, New Mexico Geological Society, Guidebook, 65th Field Conference, pp. 303-310.

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