Rock climbing as a means for collecting research data. Life is rough!
I have the privilege to conduct my undergraduate research at Hueco Tanks State Historical Site near El Paso, TX. Hueco Tanks is a 35 Ma syenite intrusion associated with extensive volcanism that occurred from 38 to 32 Ma along the borders of Texas and Mexico. My interest in the project arose from the heavily fractured nature of the rock and the lack of geologic research conducted at Hueco Tanks. Hueco Tanks is located within the Hueco Bolson, a major basin in northwest Texas that has developed through tectonic advancement in the area. Three major tectonic events have shaped this area including Laramide orogenesis, Basin and Range extension, and Rio Grande rifting. The timing of emplacement of Hueco Tanks with respect to these tectonic events leads me to question whether the extensive fracturing of the rock is due to external tectonic forces, internal plutonic behaviors, or a combination of both. Through measuring and mapping features at Hueco Tanks, I hope to understand the origin of these fractures and relative timing of tectonic events.