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This volume of papers grew out of a four-day symposium entitled “Sedimentary and Paleolimnological Records of Saline Lakes” held at Saskatoon, Canada in August, 1991. The meeting was held as a Canadian contribution to Projects 219 and 324 of the International Geological Correlation Programme. This international conference, co-sponsored by the Canadian National Committee of the International Geological Correlation Programme (CNC-IGCP) and the National Hydrology Research Institute (Environment Canada), attracted nearly 100 participants from a dozen countries and covered literally all aspects of salt lake sedimentology, geochemistry, and paleolimnology.

As with most conferences and meetings dealing with lacustrine environments and paleolimnology, the Saskatoon conference was broad in scope. Participants had a remarkable diversity of backgrounds and scientific specialities, including sedimentologists, geochemists, hydrologists, geographers, paleontologists, ecologists, and biologists from universities, governments, industry, and private organizations. Papers presented at this conference that dealt primarily with biological or biochemical paleolimnology have been collected and published separately as a special theme issue of Journal of Paleolimnology (Evans, 1993). The aim of SEPM Special Publication Number 50 is to bring together selected papers from this conference that deal specifically with the sedimentological, inorganic geochemical, and hydrological aspects of salt lakes and their stratigraphic records. We have not tried to compile a comprehensive review of saline lake sedimentology, but rather reflect the scope of current research. An excellent review of much of the saline lake sedimentological and geochemical literature has already recently been presented by Smoot and Lowenstein (1991).

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