Broadhead gave this overview of the region’s geology:
Estancia, Carrizozo and Vaughn basins are all in northeast and central
New Mexico and all share a similar geology.
began to form during the Early Pennsylvanian and saw continued tectonic
development through the Early Permian. They are tectonic elements
of the southern ancestral Rocky Mountains and were formed along
the flanks of the late Paleozoic Sierra Grande and Pedernal uplifts
in a strike-slip setting.
late Paleozoic, Precambrian cores of these uplifts were exposed
and were the source of sediments for surrounding basins. However,
along the boundaries of adjoining uplifts, the basins have component
basins are long, narrow and structurally deep troughs bounded by
high-angle faults. They are either elongated parallel to the axes
of the adjoining uplifts and separate the uplifts from areas of
shelf deposition, or they cut into the flanks of these uplifts.
faults of Early Pennsylvanian to Early Permian age have vertical
offsets that can exceed 5,000 feet, while basin width can be five
to 15 miles and basin length can range from 20 to 40 miles.
covers 5,000 square miles. To the north and northwest the Sierra
Grande uplift separates it from the Pecos shelf and Las Vegas Basin,
and to the northeast the Bravo dome separates the basin from the
Dalhart Basin of Texas and Oklahoma. On the east, the Frio uplift
separates the Tucumcari from the Palo Duro Basin, and to the south
the Sin Nombre arch separates it from the Permian Basin’s northwest
shelf. To the west, the San Ignacio platform separates it from the
deepest known parts are in the elevator basins along its northern
margin in Guadalupe, San Miguel and Quay counties. While depth to
the Precambrian may exceed 12,000 feet in these elevator basins,
the Precambrian is found at less than 7,000 feet in shelf areas.
On uplifted areas to the north, northwest and northeast depth to
the Precambrian rarely exceeds 3,000 feet.
that led to the formation of the basin and its elevator sub-basins
is Early Pennsylvanian through Early Permian in age.
that infill the Tucumcari are Mississippian through Quaternary.
Mississippian sediments are pre-basinal shelf carbonates and sandstones.
Pennsylvanian and Lower Permian sediments are synorogenic with internal
facies variations that reflect the proximity to the tectonic highlands
of the ancestral Rocky Mountains.
and Lower Permian strata thicken dramatically in the elevator basins.
The Pennsylvanian section may exceed 4,000 feet in the elevator
basins but is generally less than 1,500 feet on the shelf areas.