THE IMPACT OF TECTONIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGES ON DEPOSITIONAL GEOMETRIES OF THE AUSTIN CHALK GROUP IN BEXAR COUNTY, TEXAS
The lower Austin Chalk consists of argillaceous chalk with finely abraded skeletal material separated by thin marl stringers and contains numerous shallow channel-cut features. The presence of extensive shell lag deposits, high energy facies, and lateral thickness variations of chalk beds within the upper Austin Chalk indicates a change in depositional regime influenced by relative sea level change or other paleoenvironmental conditions. The correlation of gamma ray profiles of measured outcrops to geophysical logs of water wells drilled through the Austin Chalk Group in Bexar County enhances the stratigraphic framework within the study area. This is complemented by the chemostratigraphic (d13C) correlation of the succession in Bexar County to well-dated reference sections. The paleoenvironmental conditions that led to periodic non-deposition of chalk and formation of stratigraphic discontinuities were traced using geochemical proxies measured by X-ray fluorescence spectrometry.
The improved stratigraphic framework reveals that the lower Austin Chalk thins from Bexar County across the San Marcos Arch, while the upper Austin Chalk thickens from Bexar County across the San Marcos Arch. Large-scale lateral thickness variations within the Austin Chalk Group could be induced by either local tectonic inversion around the San Marcos Arch or contour parallel bottom currents involved in the redeposition of the chalk sediments.