Clarence Dutton's stratigraphy of west-central New Mexico
Spencer G. Lucas


In 1885, Clarence Dutton published a stratigraphy of the thick (~ 3 km), essentially homoclinal section of upper Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Paleogene strata exposed on the northern fl ank of the Zuni Mountains in west-central New Mexico. Dutton’s stratigraphy of most of the section was conservative, in that he assigned the Paleozoic, Cretaceous and Paleogene strata to units already named elsewhere on the Colorado Plateau. This part of Dutton’s stratigraphy also contained several oversights, inaccuracies and miscorrelations, and it had little effect on subsequent understanding of the Phanerozoic stratigraphic section in west-central New Mexico. However, Dutton did introduce two new stratigraphic names for the Triassic-Jurassic rocks, Wingate Sandstones and Zuni Sandstones, and these units, though much misunderstood by later workers, continue to be recognized in west-central New Mexico. It is the recognition of the Wingate and Zuni sandstones that represents Dutton’s substantive and lasting contribution to the regional stratigraphy of west-central New Mexico.


  1. Lucas, Spencer G., 2003, Clarence Dutton's stratigraphy of west-central New Mexico, in: Geology of the Zuni Plateau, Lucas, Spencer G.; Semken, Steven C.; Berglof, William R.; Ulmer-Scholle, Dana S., New Mexico Geological Society, Guidebook, 54th Field Conference, pp. 209-217.

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