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Field Tripping across the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and Sonora

The Sonoran Desert of Arizona and northern Sonora, Mexico, hosts some of the wildest and most intriguing geology in the Southwest. In March 1990, the Geological Society of America’s Cordilleran Section met in Tucson, Arizona, to review fresh geologic research and to visit a broad suite of geologic settings.

The field trip guides from 19 field excursions – 5 in north-central Sonora, Mexico, and 14 in central and southern Arizona – are reproduced in the Arizona Geological Survey’s Special Paper #7, Geologic Excursions through the Sonoran Desert Region, Arizona and Sonora’. Now free to download at AZGS’ online Document Repository.

Special Paper #7 includes 200-pages of illustrated field trip guides for the Payson, Tonto and Safford Basins; San Pedro River Valley; the Tucson, Sierrita, Whetstone and Chiricahua Mountains; Santa Catalina Mountain core complex; Mazatzal Mountains; the Pitaycachi Fault; Magdalena metamorphic core complex; and, finally, the NE Gulf of California.

These guides reflect the geologic state-of-the-art at the time for metamorphic core complex structures, Cretaceous caldera systems, Middle Jurassic magmatic arc geometry in southern Arizona, the Paleozoic stratigraphy of the Whetstone Mountains, the Quaternary geology of the NE Gulf of California, and more.

The target audience is professional geoscientists, particularly those with an interest in Southwestern geology. For the geophile, however, there are numerous illustrations, stratigraphic columns, maps and cross-sections that make the individual articles a little easier to comprehend. Most of the field guides include road logs and designated field stops complete with geologic description.

Gehrels, G.E. and Spencer, J.E. (eds.), 1990, Geologic excursions through the Sonoran Desert Region, Arizona and Sonora. Arizona Geological Survey, Special Paper-7, 202 p.