Tijeras-Canoncito fault system--A major zone of recurrent movement in north-central New Mexico
— Alvis L. Lisenbee, Lee A. Woodward, and J. R. Connolly


Recent geologic mapping (Bachman, 1975; Booth, 1977; Johnson, 1973, 1975; Lisenbee, 1976) has shown that the Tijeras fault, which transects the Sandia and Manzanita mountains (Kelley, 1963), and the faults of the Canoncito area of the southern Sangre de Cristo Mountains (Booth, 1977; Budding, 1972) are connected and form a major structural zone that is obliquely transverse to the major uplifts and basins of central New Mexico (fig. 1). The Tijeras-Canoncito fault system extends northeasterly at least 93 km from the vicinity of Albuquerque to about 14 km southeast of Santa Fe. Aeromagnetic and gravity data (Cordell, 1976) suggest that the fault extends southwesterly beneath basin fill of the Rio Grande rift. A continuation northward along the Picuris-Pecos fault was inferred by Miller and others (1963) and is considered probable. If so, the fault system has been active along various segments for a length exceeding 175 km.
Numerous Tertiary intrusive bodies with associated mineral deposits are located along this fault system in the Ortiz (Old Placers), San Pedro (New Placers) and Tijeras Canyon districts (Elston, 1967; Mardirosian, 1977) (locs. 1, 2 and 3, respectively, on fig. 1). Landwehr (1967) suggested that the broad, northeast-trending Bisbee-Morenci belt of major mineralization extends to the southern Sangre de Cristo uplift of New Mexico; the Tijeras-Calioncito fault system and associated mineral deposits are within the Bisbee-Morenci belt, although Landwehr (1967) did not note any of these mineral occurrences.
A large part of the Tijeras-Canoncito fault system follows the strike of foliation and schistosity of Precambrian rocks (fig. 1), and fault movement probably began in the Precambrian. The element of anisotropy that was established in the crust of central New Mexico has been the locus of movement during succeeding episodes of deformation. It seems likely that the direction of slip along any given segment may have been different during different times, being dependent upon the principal and perhaps local stress fields. Also, different segments appear to have undergone different directions of slip during the same deformational event.

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Recommended Citation:

  1. Lisenbee, Alvis L.; Woodward, Lee A.; Connolly, J. R., 1979, Tijeras-Canoncito fault system--A major zone of recurrent movement in north-central New Mexico, in: Santa Fe Country, Ingersoll, Raymond V.; Woodward, Lee A.; James, H. L., New Mexico Geological Society, Guidebook, 30th Field Conference, pp. 89-99. https://doi.org/10.56577/FFC-30.89

[see guidebook]