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Bulletin 56—Geology and mineral resources of Mesa Del Oro Quadrangle, Socorro and Valencia (now Cibola) Counties, New Mexico

By H. L. Jicha, Jr., 1958, 67 pp, 12 tables, 2 figs., 5 plates, 1 index. Mesa del Oro quadrangle is located about 40 mi southwest of Albuquerque and 26 mi west of Belen, in central NM.

The topography of the area is varied, and elevations range from about 6,000 to 7,500 ft. The quadrangle is on the west flank of the Lucero uplift, a westward dipping monoclinal structure that forms the east boundary of the Acoma embayment of the San Juan Basin. The quadrangle is obliquely transected by Sierre Lucero, a northeastward trending, northwest-dipping expression of the structural high formed by the Lucero uplift. The east margin of Sierra Lucero is a steep cliff, in which the upper part of the Lower Permian sequence forms a broad valley east of the escarpment. The dip slope is composed of resistant Permian limestones, capped at places by Triassic red beds and Tertiary lava flows. Locally northwest-striking, high-angle normal faults cut the western margin of the Sierra Lucero. Sodaclase-diorite dikes parallel the strike of the faults, and sills of similar composition intrude the Permian and Triassic rocks in the eastern half of the quadrangle. In the southwestern part of the area, a series of small anticlinal folds occurs. The northwestern part of the quadrangle is typical of the Acoma embayment of the San Juan Basin. The dips are low and typically to the west and north. The region is dotted by scattered basaltic lava flows and plugs. Many of the flows cap remnants of Cenozoic erosion surfaces cut on Triassic rocks, forming broad mesas, some of which cover areas of considerable size. At a few places in the southern and northwestern parts of the quadrangle, Upper Cretaceous rocks are exposed. Jurassic rocks occur only in the northwestern corner of the area.

Water resources of the area are meager, and the water is general of poor quality. The oil and gas possibilities have never been tested fully. The most important mineral resource is high-calcium lime rock, a large deposit of which occurs on the north end of Mesa del Oro. Other potential resources are gypsum, flagstone, and basalt blocks. No metallic deposits are known to occur in the area.

Mesa del Oro quadrangle was mapped in 1953 and 1954 as part of the regional mapping program of the NM Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources. As the quadrangle is only 20 mi south of the large uranium mines of the Laguna reservation and is north of the uranium prospects in the adjoining Puertecito quadrangle, it was thought that mapping of this area might be helpful in uranium exploration. The results of the study of the complex relations of the volcanic and intrusive igneous rocks should be of value in considering adjoining areas.

The 15-min Mesa del Oro quadrangle, which has an area of approximately 245 mi2, is in central NM, and includes parts of Socorro and Valencia Counties. It is about 40 mi southwest of Albuquerque and 26 mi west of Belen. Access to the western part is by a dirt road which leaves U.S. Highway 66 about 1 mi west of Correo. Several unimproved dirt roads enter the eastern part of the quadrangle, and a network of truck trails provides access to all parts of the quadrangle, and a network of truck trails provides access to all parts of the area.

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