Hierarchical Stratigraphic

Analysis of a Carbonate Platform,

Permian of the Guadalupe Mountains



Charles Kerans and Kirt Kempter

Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas at Austin

AAPG/Datapages Discovery Series No. 5





I. Introduction

CD Format



II. Stratigraphic Terminology and Concepts

HFS Framework Terms and Concepts

Composite Sequence and Cycle Sets

Facies-Tract Differentiation and Migration

Vertical Facies Successions

P/A Ratios for Leonardian and Guadalupian HFS


Interpretation Steps Used for Stratigraphic Model

Describe Vertical Facies Succession

Fenestral Algal-Laminated Cycle Cap

Cross-Bedded Oo-Peloid Grainstone

Flaser-Bedded Peloid Grainstone

Vertically-Burrowed Peloid Packstone

Interpret Walther's Law Facies Progressions

Interpret Vertical Repetition of Facies in Terms of Cycles and

            Cycles Sets

Define Lateral Variations of Vertical Facies Successions

Define Sequence Boundaries Based on Key Attributes

Guad 3 HFS / Guad 4 HFS (Tepee Structure)

Top of Guad 4 HFS (Paleokarst Collapse Breccia)

Top of Guad 4 HFS (Local Caliche Profile)

Guad 10 HFS LST (Paleokarst Profile)

Top of Guad 3 HFS (Lowstand/Transgressive Wedge of Ooid


Top of Leon 8 HFS (Glauconitic Condensed Section Directly Above

            Open Ramp Facies)

Top of Leon 8 HFS (Stratal Geometry, Downlap)

Top of Composite Sequence 8 (1-D Stacking Patterns)


Depositional Models and Facies Tract Definitions

Open Distally-Steepened Ramp Model

Restricted Sigmoid Clinoform Ramp Model

Exposed Shelf, Siliciclastic Basin-Fill Model

Mixed Siliciclastic-Carbonate Transitional Ramp to Rimmed-Shelf


Reef-Rimmed Shelf Model


Interpretation Using Sequence Framework

Example One -- (Selective Development of Carbonate Grainstones)

Grainstone Analysis


Variations Observed in Leonardian/Guadalupian Ramp/Shelf Crest Grainstones Include:

Facies Partitioning of Skeletal Versus Non-Skeletal Grainstones

Volumetric Partitioning of Grainstone Facies in Transgressive and Highstand Systems Tracts, Guad 3 HFS, Lawyer Canyon

Diagenetic Model for Facies Partitioning in Ramp-Crest


Cycle-Scale Stratal Geometry Changes Across HFS in a CS

Facies Object Dimension/Depositional Profile Relationships

Inherited Topography


Example Two --  Tepee-Pisolite Complexes of the Shelf Crest

Facies Tract )

                                    Tepee from Guad 27, Tansill Formation, Carlsbad Caverns

                                                Parking Lot

                        Controls on the Formation of Tepees

                        Distribution and Composition of Shelf-Crest, Shelf-Margin, and

            Slope Facies, Guadalupian Section, Guadalupe Mountains

Model for Development of Tepees and Shallow Water Reefs


III. Photomosaic Panels and LSAT Image


LSAT Images

            High Resolution LSAT

            Composite Sequences Showing Shelf Margin Progradation


Oblique Aerial Views

            View 1

            View 2


Photomosaic Panels

            Algerita Escarpment

                        Algerita North

                                    Lawyer Canyon

Location of Samples, Measured Sections, and


Flood Front at Water Break Through

Permeability Model

Algerita Mid

Algerita South

Shattuck Escarpment

Shattuck North

Shattuck Middle

Shattuck South

Last Chance Canyon




Cutoff Ridge

McKittrick Canyon

Western Escarpment

Composite McKittrick Canyon - Western Escarpment Photomosaic



IV. Sequence Stratigraphic Models


Model Display with Lithostratigraphic Terminology

Regional Cross-Section of the Guadalupe Mountains, SE New

Mexico and West Texas


Sequence-by-Sequence Display and Interpretation

            Composite Sequence 9

                        Leonardian 5, 6

                        Leonardian 7

                        Leonardian 8

                        Guadalupian 1

                        Guadalupian 2

                        Guadalupian 3

                        Guadalupian 4

                        Composite Sequence 10

                        Guadalupian 5-7

                        Guadalupian 8

                        Guadalupian 9

                        Composite Sequence 11

                        Guadalupian 10

                        Guadalupian 11

                        Guadalupian 12

                        Guadalupian 13

                        Guadalupian 14

                        Composite Sequence 12

                        Guadalupian 15, 16

                        Guadalupian 17

                        Guadalupian 18

                        Guadalupian 19

                        Guadalupian 20

                        Composite Sequence 13

                        Guadalupian 21, 22

                        Guadalupian 23, 24

                        Composite Sequence 14

                        Guadalupian 25, 26

                        Guadalupian 27, 28


Measured-Section Locations

            Sequence Stratigraphic Framework of the San Andres Formation

            Queen Formation, Shattuck Valley Wall


Animated Display


Location of Study Areas within Sequence Stratigraphic Model



V. References


VI. Site Index


Measured Section List