of Cave and Karst Studies
- ISSN 1090-6924
Volume 62 Number 2: 60-71 - August 2000
A publication of the National Speleological Society
of the geologic history of cave development in the Guadalupe Mountains, New
Carol A. Hill
The sequence of events relating to the geologic history of cave development in the Guadalupe Mountains, New Mexico, traces from the Permian to the present. In the Late Permian, the reef, forereef, and backreef units of the Capitan Reef Complex were deposited, and the arrangement, differential dolomitization, jointing, and folding of these stratigraphic units have influenced cave development since that time.
Four episodes of karsification occurred in the Guadalupe Mountains: Stage 1 fissure caves (Late Permian) developed primarily along zones of weakness at the reef/backreef contact; Stage 2 spongework caves (Mesozoic) developed as small interconnected dissolution cavities during limestone mesogenesis; Stage 3 thermal caves (Miocene?) formed by dissolution of hydrothermal water; Stage 4 sulfuric acid caves (Miocene-Pleistocene) formed by H2S-sulfuric acid dissolution derived hypogenically from hydrocarbons. This last episode is reponsible for the large caves in the Guadalupe Mountains containing gypsum blocks/rinds, native sulfur, endellite, alunite, and other deposits related to a sulfuric acid speleogenetic mechanism.
This page last updated:
7 May, 2003 15:21
Web Author: Jim Pisarowicz