Integrated study of the basin structure, tectonic history, physical stratigraphy, hydrogeology, geochemistry, geomorphology, natural resources, and rock physics of the Palo Duro and Dalhart Basins in the Texas Panhandle is part of a national evaluation of ancient salt basins as potential sites for isolation and management of nuclear wastes. Since early 1973, the Bureau of Economic Geology has been evaluating several salt-bearing basins within the State of Texas as part of the national nuclear repository program. The Bureau, a research unit of The University of Texas and the State of Texas, is conducting a long-term program to gather and interpret all geologic and hydrologic information necessary for description, delineation, and evaluation of salt-bearing and related strata in the Palo Duro and Dalhart Basins of the Texas Panhandle.
The program in FY80 was divided into five broad research tasks, which were addressed by a surficial analysis and shallow stratigraphy group, a hydrology and geochemistry group, a basin analysis group, a host-rock analysis group, and a seisrnicity and tectonic environment group. The surficial analysis and shallow stratigraphy group has collected remotely sensed, surface and subsurface data to describe land resources, surface processes, and rates and styles of geomorphic development. The hydrology and geochemistry group has continued analysis and shallow and deep fluid circulation within the basins and has initiated studies of rock and fluid geochemistry within the salt-bearing units. The basin analysis group has characterized the major salt-bearing stratigraphic units within the basins and has assessed the potential for generating and trapping hydrocarbons within the basins. Concurrently, the host-rock analysis group has continued a study of cores from two drilling sites for analysis of salt and other lithologic units within the cores. The newly formed seismicity and tectonic environment group has initiated studies of deep-basement structure and tectonic development of the basin and has made an analysis of surface fracture systems.
This paper, a summary of progress during FY80, presents principal conclusions and reviews methods used and types of data and maps generated. Topical reports, discussing various geological aspects of the Palo Duro and Dalhart Basins in detail, are being published as phases of the study are completed. This research was supported by the Department of Energy and its predecessor, the Energy Research and Development Administration, under contracts numbered EY-77-S-05-5466 (FY78), DE-AC97-79ET446 14 (FY79), and DE-AC97-ET46615 (FY80).
Gustavson, T. C., and others, 1981, Geology and Geohydrology of the Palo Duro Basin, Texas Panhandle A Report on the Progress of Nuclear Waste Isolation Feasibility Studies (1980): The University of Texas at Austin, Bureau of Economic Geology, Geological Circular 81-3, 173 p. doi.org/10.23867/gc8103D.