Integrated study of basins in the Four Corners region

Olamide Olawumi Fagbola, University of Texas at El Paso


This dissertation is an integrated study of basins in the four corners area of the central part of the Colorado Plateau. The Colorado Plateau is a structurally unique part of the Rocky Mountain region because it has only been moderately deformed when compared to the more intensely deformed areas around it. The Colorado Plateau covers a portion of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. The study area extends from latitude 34°N-40°N to longitude 106°W-111W° encompassing a series of major basins and uplifts: the San Juan, Black Mesa, Paradox, and the Blanding basins; and the Zuni, Defiance, Four Corners, Monument uplifts and the San Juan dome and volcanic field. ^ An analysis of gravity anomalies, basement and crustal structure for basins in the four corners region was carried out. This involved using gravity, magnetic, well, outcrop, seismic estimates of crustal thickness, and geologic data in an integrated fashion. ^ Six filtered gravity and three filtered magnetic maps were generated to aid in the interpretation of the gravity and magnetic anomalies in the study area. A detailed comparison of these maps was carried out. The results show a deep seated mafic structure in the basement acting as a crustal boundary separating the high gravity anomalies from the low. These maps also show that the sources of these anomalies are quite shallow resulting from the upper crust in the study area. The structures in the study area are characterized by northwest and northeast trends which correspond to the Precambrian and the Late Paleozoic structures, respectively. ^ A crustal thickness map of the area was also constructed from seismic estimates of crustal thickness. A comparison was done between the crustal thickness map and the 45 km upward continuation Bouguer anomaly map. The result of this comparison shows that areas of thicker ix crust corresponded to low gravity while areas of thinner crust means mantle material is closer to the surface, thereby producing a high gravity anomaly. The thinnest crust encountered is about 32 km while the thickest crust is about 50 km. ^ Seven gravity models were constructed and these include three crustal-scale profiles crisscrossing the study area and four local profiles. The gravity profiles were modeled using well data, structural thickness maps, cross section data, geologic maps and previous gravity models as constraints. Basement inhomogeneities beneath the basins and the uplifts were delineated by the gravity modeling. One of results from this study reveals that the basement beneath the Four Corners area is highly inhomogeneous. ^ This study reveals that there is a high density deep seated mafic intrusion present in the basement which is responsible for the high gravity and magnetic anomaly in A. This dissertation has also shown that the Four Corners region does not possess a single crustal signature as shown by the different crustal trends in San Juan basin trending northeast and the east-west trending Uncompahgre uplift. The 45 km upward continuation gravity map was also found to correlate with seismic estimates of crustal thickness. The Precambrian basement in this region is also not homogeneous as shown by the necessity of inserting exotic bodies into the basement to compensate for high gravity anomalies and lastly an attempt was made to better define Tweto's (1980) outline of geologic features in the study area. On integrating gravity, magnetics, well and outcrop data, the relief of the Defiance uplift is not as high as delineated by Tweto's (1980) outline. ^

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Fagbola, Olamide Olawumi, "Integrated study of basins in the Four Corners region" (2007). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3291008.