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A Stratigraphic Analysis of Rico Strata in the Four Corners Region
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- A Stratigraphic Analysis of Rico Strata in the Four Corners Region
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- Rico strata are recognised throughout the Four Corners region of southwestern Colorado, southeastern Utah, northeastern Arizona, and northwestern New Mexico. The term Rico has been applied to a group of strata which exhibit a lateral and vertical transition between two contrasting environments, the marine Hermosa and the non-marine Cutler. Two faunal provinces reflect these widely diverse conditions of sedimentation. However, few fossils of diagnostic value have been discovered despite the abundance of fossiliferous strata within the Rico. Rico strata are believed to range between Desmoinesian and Virgilian in age. Lithofacies data on the Rico were assembled from literature, outcrop sections, and various well logs. These data were then compiled on an isopach-lithofacies map. The isopach-lithofacies map shows the thickness trends and the lithologic variations of Rico strata throughout the region of study. The tectonic framework of the region is reconstructed from the isopach-lithofacies map and mechanical analyses of the elastic strata. Clastic material in the Rico increases in average grain size from west to east toward the Uncomphagre Uplift suggest that this area was actively positive during Rico time. The vertical variation of normal marine limestone and clastic red beds in the Rico reflect an alternately transgressing and regressing sea over much of the Four Corners region. This intricate intertonguing of normal marine limestone and clastic red beds probably resulted from deposition in a shallow basin on an unstable shelf. The occurrence of oil, gas, and cement quality limestone in the Rico is examined from an economic aspect. A. brief review of the general geology and geologic history of tile region is also included.
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