The Abo Formation is a geologic formation in New Mexico. It is extensively exposed in the mountains and other uplifts bordering the Rio Grande Rift. The formation consists of fluvial redbed mudstones and sandstones, including river channels in its lower beds (Scholle Member) and distinctive sandstone sheets in its upper beds (Cañon de Espinoso Member.)[2] It is notable for its trace fossils, but also has produced plant, bivalve, conchostracan and vertebrate fossils[2] in locations such as the Spanish Queen mine near Jemez Springs,[3] which date it to the lower Permian period. Its depositional environment was typical of the "wet red beds" of tropical Pangaea.[2]

Abo Formation
Stratigraphic range: Permian
Unit ofManzano Group
UnderliesYeso Formation
OverliesBursum Formation of the Madera Formation[1]
Thickness280 m at type section
RegionNew Mexico
CountryUnited States
Type section
Named forAbo Canyon
Named byW.T. Lee (1909)

The base of the Abo is gradational with the Madera Formation, and is usually placed at the first massive marine limestone bed below the fluvial sediments of the Abo. It is overlain by the Yeso Formation, with the base of the Yeso placed at the first massive sandstone bed showing frosted grains and other eolian features.[2]

The Abo transitions seamlessly to the Cutler Formation in the northern Jemez Mountains. With both names deeply entrenched in the geological literature, the convention is to use the name "Cutler Formation" north of 36 degrees north latitude and "Abo Formation" south of that latitude.[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Donald A. Myers (1972), "The upper Paleozoic Madera Group in the Manzano Mountains, New Mexico", U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin, 1372F: F11, doi:10.3133/B1372FWikidata Q61461236
  2. ^ a b c d Lucas et al. (2013)
  3. ^ Hunt and Lucas (1996)
  4. ^ Wood and Northrop (1946)


  • Wood, G.H.; Northrop, S.A. (1946). "Geology of Nacimiento Mountains, San Pedro Mountain, and adjacent plateaus in parts of Sandoval and Rio Arriba Counties, New Mexico". U.S. Geological Survey Oil and Gas Investigations. Preliminary Map OM-57.
  • Hunt, Adrian P.; Lucas, Spencer G. (1996). "Late Paleozoic fossil vertebrates from the Spanish Queen mine locality and vicinity, Sandoval County, New Mexico". New Mexico Geological Society Fall Field Guidebooks. 47: 22.
  • Lucas, Spencer G.; Krainer, Karl; Chaney, Dan S.; DiMichele, William A.; Voigt, Sebastian; Berman, David S.; Henrici, Amy C. (2013). "The Lower Permian Abo Formation in Central New Mexico". New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Bulletin. 59: 161–180. hdl:10088/20977.