Geomorphology ( IF 3.819 ) Pub Date : 2020-07-14 , DOI: 10.1016/j.geomorph.2020.107335 Lisa M. Tranel; Audrey A. Happel
The Guadalupe Mountains tower above surrounding plains and basins in western Texas and southeast New Mexico. Although this mountain range is extensively studied for the Permian stratigraphy related to the petroleum reservoirs in the adjacent Delaware Basin, little is known about the geomorphic history. The western escarpment, in particular, rises abruptly from the Salt Basin to the west of the range, and Guadalupe Peak rises ~1600 m above the surrounding landscape. This study investigates how geologic processes create and maintain the steep profile of the escarpment on the western boundary of the Guadalupe Mountain Range. In-situ produced cosmogenic nuclides were used to quantify erosion rates across the steep western front of the range to assess how tectonic, climatic, and lithologic forces influence the escarpment profile. Erosion rates range from 1 to 73 m/Myr. Faster erosion rates in the southern area of the escarpment coincide with more frequently mapped faults, higher elevations at the top of the Rim, and locations with colder temperatures and higher precipitation. Topographic profiles across the western escarpment surfaces indicate greater retreat from the original positions of fault surfaces at the north end of the mountain range. Faster erosion rates in the mountain range are linked to greater uplift and more recent activity in the southern end of the Guadalupe Mountains.