Temporal Evolution of the Sediment Routing Pathway into the Delaware Basin, West Texas
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The Delaware Basin (DB), a sub-basin of the greater Permian Basin (PB), formed during the collision between the Gondwana and Laurentian plates in the Late Paleozoic. The basin is situated within the foreland of the Ouachita-Marathon (OM) fold-thrust belt, separated from the shallower Midland Basin (MB) by the Central Basin Platform (CBP) basement uplift. The complex structural geometries of the CBP, DB, and OM lead to uncertainties regarding the tectonic mechanisms driving formation of PB, and associated drainage and catchment pattern filling the basin. This research shows the siliciclastic paleodispersal patterns of the DB spanning pre- to post- OM deformation. As the first provenance study of the area to span this temporal range, the results from U-Pb detrital zircon geochronology, thin section petrology, heavy mineral analyses, and Kolmogorov-Smirnov statistical tests reveal four major drainage reorganizations that correspond to the regional tectonic events. Results indicate that Ordovician strata, previously interpreted as allochthonous, may have originated in Gondwana, and remained attached to North America after the breakup of Pangea in the Late Paleozoic. Mississippian strata of the Tesnus Formation were likely sourced from the distal Appalachian system during the initial collision phase, and transported axially along the Marathon-Ouachita fold-thrust belt. As collision continued, Pennsylvanian strata were sourced from alternating axial transport of distal material, and margin-perpendicular transport from Gondwanan sources. During the Cretaceous, sediment from the Cordilleran arc along the western margin of North America was transported east towards the Delaware Basin region.
Gao, Zihui (2018). Temporal Evolution of the Sediment Routing Pathway into the Delaware Basin, West Texas. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from