Earth and Planetary Sciences ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 5-26-1971


During Pennsylvanian time the Lucero region of west central New Mexico was located along the southeastern part of the Zuni uplift and along the western and central part of the Lucero basin. The Lucero basin is part of the broad Pennsylvanian seaway that extended north-northwestward through central New Mexico to the Paradox basin on the north and the Orogrande basin on the south. Positive elements associated with the Lucero basin were the Zuni uplift to the west, the Penasco-Uncompahgre uplifts to the northeast, the Joyita uplift. to the east,. and the Pedernal uplift farther to the east.

The Pennsylvanian strata of the Lucero region have been subdivided into Atokan, Desmoinesian, Missourian, and Virgilian stratigraphic units based on fusulinid biozones and lithologic marker beds. These strata unconformably overlie the almost peneplaned Mississippian-Precambrian erosional surface and underlie the Permian Wolfcampian Abo Formation.

The Atokan section has a maximum thickness of over 500 feet along the axis of the Lucero basin and is comprised predominantly of terrigenous rocks. Deposition was in a relatively shallow water, near shore-inner shelf environment that transgressed northward across the slightly negative Lucero basin and onto the low relief Zuni uplift, Joyita uplift and Cabezon sag-Penasco uplift regions. Most of the elastic material was derived from the Zuni uplift, local hills of the Joyita uplift and local areas which were awash in the Cabezon sag-Penasco uplift.

Desmoinesian, Missourian and Virgilian strata are com­prised of numerous terrigenous-carbonate repetitive sequences that have the same- or nearly the same lithologic and fauna • characteristics with similar modes of origin. Each sequence tends to follow from bottom to top a highly generalized pattern of a lower terrigenous unit and an upper carbonate unit. Each series obtains a maximum thickness along the axis of the Lucero basin, thins toward the Joyita uplift and thins to a wedge-edge onto the eastern flank of the Zuni uplift. During most of this period of time, subsidence along the axis of the Lucero basin was slow but more-or-less continuous. Deposition occurred across a very shallow water, generally low energy shelf adjacent to the low lying Zuni .uplift, which shed mainly fine-grained sediments into the Lucero basin; and from the slightly positive Joyita uplift or platform which supplied minor amounts of terrigenous material and may have, at times, influenced carbonate deposition.

While the Lucero region is referred to as the Lucero basin, it is a depositional shelf or a structural basin of differential subsidence with resulting thick total Pennsyl­vanian section along the axis, and not a depositional basin in the sense that it contained deep marine waters at any time. All sedimentary rocks observed suggest that deposition on this shelf was in shallow water near shore and shelf-type environments.

Level of Degree


First Committee Member (Chair)

Sherman Alexander Wengerd

Second Committee Member

J. Paul Fitzsimmons

Third Committee Member

Roger Yates Anderson

Fourth Committee Member

Lee A. Woodward

Document Type


Included in

Geology Commons