Field trip to see Permian, Cambrian and Especially Precambrian Rocks along a route from Abilene to south of Llano, Texas

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1 Field trip to see Permian, Cambrian and Especially Precambrian Rocks along a route from Abilene to south of Llano, Texas

2 Rationale for the Field Trip On the field trip we will see a diversity of rock types including igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks. We will also learn about the geology in the area around Llano, Texas.

3 Route From Abilene we head south on route 84 to our first stop which is just south of Jim Ned Creek were we see Permian sedimentary rocks. We visit these so we can compare them with the much older rocks visited in the Hill Country. Our next stop is on highway 87 just south of the San Saba River. The following stop is north of Valley Spring on route 71. At the latter two stops we see Cambrian sedimentary rocks. Our next stop is near Inks Lake. Then we go to the town of Llano just below the bridge over the llano River.

4 Route (continues) At the latter two stops, and at the rest of the stops we see mainly Precambrian igneous and metamorphic rocks. These are also viewed along Ranch Road 2323 south of Llano, Enchanted Rocks State Park, and finally, at a road cut just east of Mason.

5 General Geology In much of Texas we just have sedimentary rocks exposed at the surface. These overlie ancient Precambrian igneous and metamorphic rocks at depth. In the Llano region is a structural uplift which has elevated these ancient rocks. Younger overlying rocks were then removed by erosion exposing the igneous/metamorphic rocks.

6 General Geology (continued) Thus by traveling to Llano we see a much greater diversity of rocks than we could see in the Abilene area.

7 Probable geologic history of the Llano region Over one billion years ago various rocks formed at the surface of the earth including volcanic and sedimentary rocks (Barnes, et.al., 1972). Then a period of orogeny or mountain building took place and some of the above rocks were buried beneath the mountain range which was being formed. In this environment they were subjected to high temperatures,

8 Geologic history (continued) pressures, and directed stresses and converted to schists and gneisses. About one billion years ago, large masses of magma were emplaced into the metamorphic rocks to form granite intrusions. This magma may have been formed by the partial melting of the metamorphic rocks. After this stage, roughly 400 million years passed,

9 Geologic history (continued) the mountains eroded away, and a roughly level surface formed. Only the roots of the mountains remained. Then in Cambrian time, the seas transgressed into the area to create deposits of sand along beaches and limey deposits in shallow water where marine activity was extensive. Later sediments (sedimentary rocks) were laid down with time but eventually the

10 Geologic history (continued) structural dome was formed, erosion took place and all these rocks exposed to the light of day where geologists could examine them.

11 Stop 1 Limestone and shale beds How do we tell them apart? Permian age Wichita-Albany group of rocks Probably deposited in a shallow sea environment, limestone being clear water conditions, shale being an environment with lots of mud like near a delta.

12 Stop 1

13 Stop 2 Algal limestone Circular structure are clearly visible in places Cambrian age Wilbern Formation Probably shallow marine environment

14 Stop 2 foot ruler for scale

15 Stop 2 Route 87 at the San Saba River crossing

16 Stop 3 Sandstone Distinctive brick red color Cambrian age Riley Formation Sand probably deposited in a beach environment

17 Stop 3 - foot ruler for scale

18 Stop 3 - bedding can be seen here

19 Stop 3 Along route 71 near Valley Spring Reddish color in sandstone is due to hematite being present

20 Stop 4 Along Park Road 4 near Inks Lake Note the layering present in the pinkish colored rock Precambrian age Valley Spring Gneiss

21 Stop 4 - along Park Road 4 near Inks Lake Valley Spring Gneiss

22 Stop 5 Granite and schist outcrops along the Llano River Geologic age is Precambrian

23 Stop 5 Note veins of granite in granite

24 Stop 5 schist outcrop

25 Stop 5 Contact between granite and schist with granite above the schist

26 Stop 5 apparent schist inclusion in granite

27 Stop 5 Pc Packsaddle schist at the Llano River

28 Stop 6 Porphyritic granite along Ranch Road 2323 Precambrian in age This is a part of the Enchanted Rock Batholith see the geologic atlas of Texas Llano sheet.

29 Stop 6

30 Stop 7 Coarse granite exposed along Ranch Road 2323 Precambrian in age This is also part of the Enchanted Rock Batholith

31 Stop 7

32 Stop 8 Unconformity with the Riley sandstone (Cambrian) on top and on the bottom weathered metamorphic rock (Precambrian) This is right along Ranch Road 2323

33 Stop 8

34 Stop 9 Enchanted Rock State Park Large masses of Precambrian granite are well exposed here These are part of the Enchanted Rock Batholith

35 Stop 9 Entrance to the park

36 Stop 9 Enchanted Rock granite dome

37 Stop 10 Precambrian gneiss(packsaddle Gp?) exposed along the highway east of Mason Granite dikes cut the gneiss at this site and are easily seen when the light is right Please leave rock hammers in the van at this stop this outcrop ought to be preserved.

38 Stop 10

39 Remember Safety first and always on field trips These slides and other information give an idea of the geology at various locations but the best way to get to know it is to really visit these sites in person - geologic observations in the field form the raw data on which the geosciences are based. References follow.

40 References 1.Ahr, W.M., 1988, Cambrian Algal Reefs of the Wilberns Formation, central Texas, The Camp San Saba Locality. GSA Centennial Field Guide, SC Section. 2.Barnes, V.E., 1988, The Precambrian of central Texas. GSA Centennial Field Guide, SC Section. 3.Barnes, V.E. and others, 1972, Geology of the Llano Region and Austin Area, Field Excusion. Texas Bureau of Economic Geology, Guidebook No Hutchinson, R., 1988, Enchanted Rock dome, Llano and Gillespie Counties, Texas. GSA Centennial Field Guide, SC Section. (continued).

41 References(cont.) 5. Kier, R., 1988, Paleozoic strata of the Llano region, central Texas. GSA Centennial Field Guide, SC Section. 6.Mohr,D., 1983, personal communication. 7. Spearing, D., 1991, Roadside Geology of Texas, Mountain Press 8.Geologic Atlas of Texas, Llano Sheet, Barnes,V.E.,2000.

42 To return: If on the web return to the main field trip webpage by clicking the green back button in the Explorer window.

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