Geology of the State of Morelos and contiguous areas in south-central Mexico

Open-File Report 59-41




The area described lies in south-central Mexico and embraces all but the southeastern corner and easternmost border of the State of Moreles, the second smallest State in the Mexican Republic. It includes small contiguous parts of the State of Mexico, in the northeastern corner, and of the State of Guerrero in the southwestern corner. Limiting geographic coordinates are 98 45 to 99 39 west longitude and 18 18 to 19 08 north latitude, the northern boundary being only 35 km south of Mexico City, capital of the Republic. The geological map does not cover the entire rectangle outlined, but is irregular in form and measures roughly 4150 sq. km, three-quarters of it representing two0thirds of the State of Moreles and the rest lying outside the State. The region ranges in altitude from 730 m above sea level at Iguala near the south edge of the map, to a general level of about 3000 m at the north edge, although individual peaks rise to 3900 m and Popocatepetl Volcano, a few kilometers east of the northeastern border of the map, rises to 5452 m above sea level. Annual rainfall ranges from a minimum of about 640 mm in the low country, to 1200 mm and more at altitudes above 2000 m. Most of it falls in summer between June and September. Winter frosts are rare below 1800 m. The climate is of savanna to steppe type; soils are thin and may be classified as belonging to the tachernoses group, with strong development of calcareous evaporates (caliche) at altitudes below 1800 m. The northern border of the area forms the southern half of the late Pliocene to Recent Neo-volcanic Belt of basic volcanism that crosses Mexico in the direction N. 80 W., and thus has constructional topography. The rest of the area belongs to the Balsas Basin physiographic province, which is characterized by maturely dissected terrain tributary to the large Balsas River. All but the southwestern corner of the area drains southward via the Amacuzac River into the Mexcala-Balsas River, and thence westward into the Pacific Ocean. The southwestern corner drains directly into the Balsas River via the Iguala River. Local relief is of the order of 300 to 600 m. The mature topography was partly buried by late Pliocene alluvium in the central part of the area, owing largely to local volcanism. Dissolution of limestone, dolomite, and anhydrite of the Cretaceous formations has produced sinks and poljes, some of which contain small lakes. Other karst features are also common, such as caves, caverns, underground rivers, and surficial lapies or karren. Drainage blocking by lava and polje development in late Pleistocene and Recent time produced new alluvial flats in this otherwise dissected region. The oldest rock unit in the region is the Texco schist series of late Paleozoic (?) age. It was folded, metamorphosed, foliated, intruded by dikes, and strongly eroded before the next unit, the Texco Viejo green volcanic series of Late Triassic (?) age, was deposited. Another period of metamorphism and erosion followed before the calcareous clastic sediments of the Upper Jurassic (?) Acahuizotla formation were laid down. The next unit consists of the partly phyllitic calcareous shale of the Acuitlapan formation, which is of Neocenian (?) age and rests with at least disconformity on the Acahuizotla formation. The overlying Aptian-Barresian Kochicalco formation of thin-bedded limestone appears to grade upward from the Acuitlapan formation, locally, but it seems to be unconformable elsewhere. All these units have small outcrops in the area mapped and were not studied in detail. Warping and erosion occurred before the overlying Morelos formation began to accumulate in early Albian time. The basal member is anhydrite in the eastern part of the area mapped, but limestone and dolomite were deposited elsewhere. The formation consists largely of shallow-water calcareous bank deposits, with a maximum thickness of about 900 m. Deposition ceased in early Cenomanian time and further warpi

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USGS Numbered Series
Geology of the State of Morelos and contiguous areas in south-central Mexico
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Open-File Report
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U.S. Geological Survey],
xi, 210 p., 22 plates :ill., maps ;27 cm.