Coordinates: 29°27′03″N 103°48′32″W / 29.45083°N 103.80889°W / 29.45083; -103.80889
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Highest point
Elevation4,619 ft (1,408 m)[1]
Prominence1,000 ft (300 m)
Coordinates29°27′03″N 103°48′32″W / 29.45083°N 103.80889°W / 29.45083; -103.80889[1]
Solitario is located in Texas
Topo mapUSGS The Solitario
Mountain typeLaccolith, caldera
Volcanic arc/beltBig Bend Volcanic Arc
Last eruptionEocene

The Solitario (El Solitario) is a large geologic formation in Big Bend Ranch State Park in West Texas. When viewed from above, it suggests an impact crater; though it is actually the eroded remains of a laccolith. The approximate center of the Solitario is located 56.8 km (35.3 mi) east southeast of Presidio, Texas, just west of the line dividing Brewster County, Texas and Presidio County, Texas. The formation covers a circular area of approximately 135 km2 (52 sq mi). The geology of the Solitario is complex. In 1988, the state of Texas purchased the property containing the Solitario and created Big Bend Ranch State Park.

The formation lies in the Chihuahuan Desert ecoregion of the United States.


The Solitario is a structural dome developed in Paleozoic and Cretaceous rocks above an Eocene granite laccolith intrusion. The dome is associated with radial rhyolite to trachyte dikes and sills and erupted ash flow tuffs. The 16 km diameter dome contains a 6 by 2 km volcanic caldera filled with collapse breccia, tuff, and trachyte lava.[2]

Solitario Peak (4786 ft) is a prominent geologic feature of Solitario

The Paleozoic rocks of the dome consist of a 2.6 km thick section of intensely-folded Cambrian through Early Pennsylvanian sediments. The Paleozoic rocks were deformed and thrust into the area from the southeast during the Ouachita orogeny. The Permian uplift and erosion during most of the Mesozoic was followed by deposition of Cretaceous carbonate rocks which correlate with the Cretaceous of the Gulf Coast. The area was uplifted by the Laramide orogeny during the latest Cretaceous. Following the Eocene intrusive and volcanic events of the Solitario, the area was partially covered by volcanic rocks from the adjacent Bofecillos volcanic center to the west of the area during the Oligocene and early Miocene. Erosion and downcutting following the Pleistocene deepening of the Rio Grande to the southwest and south have produced the current topographic expression of the area.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "The Solitario". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior.
  2. ^ Henry, Christopher D.; Kunk, Michael J.; Muehlberger, William R.; McIntosh, W.C. (August 1997). "Igneous evolution of a complex laccolith-caldera, the Solitario, Trans-Pecos Texas: Implications for calderas and subjacent plutons" (PDF). GSA Bulletin. 109 (8): 1036–1054. doi:10.1130/0016-7606(1997)109<1036:IEOACL>2.3.CO;2.
  3. ^ Corry, Charles E.; Herrin, Eugene; McDowell, Fred W.; Phillips, Kenneth A. (1990). The Geology of the Solitario. Geological Society of America.

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