Stratigraphic studies and geologic mapping on the Abiquiu 7.5-min quadrangle have led to revision of the stratigraphic nomenclature for the Oligocene to Miocene Abiquiu Formation in north-central New Mexico. The Abiquiu Formation had previously been defined to include informal upper, middle (Pedernal chert member), and lower members. The basement-derived conglomeratic lower member in the northern Jemez Mountains and Abiquiu embayment is here redefined. We propose removing the "lower member" from the Abiquiu Formation because provenance of these coarse sediments is dramatically different than the volcaniclastic strata of the "upper member." Furthermore, we propose that the term "lower member of the Abiquiu Formation" be replaced with an existing unit name, the Ritito Conglomerate of Barker (1958), and that the name Abiquiu Formation be restricted to the volcaniclastic succession. The lower part of the Ritito Conglomerate in Arroyo del Cobre on the Abiquiu quadrangle is 47 m (155 ft) thick and is composed of arkosic conglomeratic beds interbedded with arkosic sands and siltstones. Clasts include, in descending order of abundance, Proterozoic quartzite, granite, metavolcanic rocks, quartz, schist, and gneiss and a trace of Mesozoic sandstone and Paleozoic chert. Clasts are predominantly of pebble and cobble size but range from granule to boulder size. Paleocurrent data collected in the Arroyo del Cobre area indicate that the Ritito Conglomerate was deposited by a south-flowing river system during the Oligocene, eroding Laramide highlands such as the Tusas Mountains to the northeast, which contain predominantly Proterozoic rocks. This depositional setting has also been suggested by previous workers. The middle member or Pedernal chert member is present both at the top of the Ritito Conglomerate and as lenses within the lower part of the Abiquiu Formation. This post-depositional diagenetic chert remains an informal unit called the Pedernal chert.
Additional publication details
Revisions to the stratigraphic nomenclature of the Abiquiu Formation, Abiquiu and contiguous areas, north-central New Mexico