Geology of the Guadalupe Mountains: An overview of recent ideas
— Carol A. Hill


A number of new ideas have been proposed over the last two decades regarding the geologic history of the Guadalupe Mountains from the Late Permian to the present. This paper will discuss six of these ideas. The classic model of P. B. King has the Hovey channel as being the inlet for the Permian basin, but new evidence suggests that the inlet was on the Salt Basin side of the Delaware basin rather than on the Glass Mountains side. The “Stage 1 fissure karst” in the Guadalupe Mountains has now been established as karst-modified syndepositional faults formed in Guadalupian (Late Permian) time. The “Stage 2 spongework karst” represents the slow diffuse circulation of Capitan aquifer water during limestone mesogenesis in the Mesozoic (Jurassic). The siliceous summit gravels of the Guadalupe Mountains are most likely Cox gravels of Comanchian (Early Cretaceous) age. The “Stage 2 spar-lined caves” in the Guadalupe Mountains date from the early Laramide (Late Cretaceous) and represent a time of deeply circulating, hydrothermal solutions. The large “Stage 4 cave passages” (e.g., Carlsbad, Lechuguilla) formed primarily from sulfuric acid rather than carbonic acid. The sulfuric acid derived from hydrocarbon reactions in the Delaware basin that generated hydrogen sulfide.

Full-text (1.94 MB PDF)

Recommended Citation:

  1. Hill, Carol A., 2006, Geology of the Guadalupe Mountains: An overview of recent ideas, in: Caves and karst of southeastern New Mexico, Land, Lewis; Lueth, Virgil W.; Raatz, William; Boston, Penny; Love, David L., New Mexico Geological Society, Guidebook, 57th Field Conference, pp. 145-150.

[see guidebook]