Bureau of Economic Geology

Geologic Significance of Remotely Sensed Physiographic Features of the Texas Panhandle and Adjacent Regions

Abstract
Remotely sensed features such as linear drainages, escarpments, ridges, and aligned playas have been identified on Landsat imagery (scale 1:250,000) of the Texas Panhandle and adjacent regions to allow comparison of these features with detailed regional and site-specific geologic data. Physiographic subdivisions of this area are the High Plains, Canadian Breaks, Rolling Plains, Pecos Valley, and Raton section. Geologic field data collected at some of the linear drainages, escarpments, and ridges indicate that orientations of about 70 percent of these linear features coincide with orientations of either fracture sets, faults, or dikes in the Canadian Breaks, Rolling Plains, Pecos Valley, and Raton section, where bedrock commonly crops out or is covered only by thin soils. However, orientations of aligned playas on the low-relief High Plains, where bedrock outcrops are sparse, do not coincide with fracture orientations measured nearby at the Caprock Escarpment and in the Rolling Plains. Thus the aligned playas of the High Plains may not reflect systematic fracture sets in bedrock. Statistical analysis of lineament orientations and lengths for the central Texas Panhandle and east-central New Mexico indicates that the lineament interpretations only partly reflect the orientations of the regional fracture sets and the general orientations of the structural grains of subsurface strata. Remotely sensed nonlinear features identified on the High Plains are large (diameters up to 15 km) topographic basins and an anomalous elongate area of sparse vegetation and sand hills (approximately 190 km long and 12 km wide). Some of the topographic basins are alkaline lake basins, whereas other basins are drained but have older lacustrine deposits cropping out within them. The topographic basins may indicate areas that have been affected by deflation or dissolution of calcrete or halite beds. The sand hills area has no known structural geologic control.
Authors
Edward W. Collins
Citation

Collins, E. W., 1990, Geologic significance of remotely sensed physiographic features of the Texas Panhandle and adjacent regions: The University of Texas at Austin, Bureau of Economic Geology, Geological Circular 90-1, 39 p. doi.org/10.23867/gc9001D.

ISSN
2475-3637
Number of figures
15
Number of pages
39
Publisher
The University of Texas at Austin, Bureau of Economic Geology
Series
Geological Circular
Year
1990