Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science - Geology



First Advisor

Dr. Kevin W. Stafford

Second Advisor

Dr. Wesley A. Brown

Third Advisor

Dr. Melinda S. Faulkner

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Joseph Musser


The Delaware Basin is the western member of the larger Permian Basin, and is located in the Trans-Pecos region of Texas and New Mexico. The Delaware Basin hosts significant evaporite karst geohazards throughout the Gypsum Plain of the Castile Formation, where geohazards of all scales form beneath and immediately adjacent to major infrastructure throughout the region, especially Ranch-to-Market 652, including geohazards ranging from small scale dissolution of road base, to large scale cave and sinkhole development. Gypsum sourced from the Castile and Rustler formations was used to create the road base of this RM652 , which meteoric waters have easily dissolved while increases in gross weight of heavy traffic has accelerated solution and suffosion processes . In order to characterize compaction and dissolution beneath the Culberson County portion of the road surface, a survey was undertaken through GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar), using the SIR 20, processed with RADAN 7, both by GSSI. Geographic location and characterization of the karst landforms from GPR data was used to map geospatial distribution of geohazards , whereupon analyses of the concentrations and spatial distributions of each class of geohazard were investigated. Karstic geohazards identified in this study most commonly include extensive meteoric dissolution of road base, as well as traffic related compression of the road, primarily caused by the use of crushed gypsum as the road base aggregate. Other subsurface expressions commonly include suffosion features, both in the gypsic soil and Castile bedrock. Extensive geohazard formation is present in areas where the Castile Formation is close to the surface or in outcrop, and has definitive topographic relief, which aids the flow of water through the gypsum, rapidly dissolving it. Additionally, leaching of the gypsic soil and gypsum formations takes place in areas where water ponds following meteoric events. Of special note in this project is the Rustler Formation; in general it remains free of major geohazards; however, in portions of the formation, gypsic masses can be found which display significant geohazard formation.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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