Terrigenous Clastic and Evaporite Sedimentation in A Recent Continental-Sabkha Playa Basin, Bristol Dry Lake, California
C. Robertson Handford, 1982. "Terrigenous Clastic and Evaporite Sedimentation in A Recent Continental-Sabkha Playa Basin, Bristol Dry Lake, California", Depositional and Diagenetic Spectra of Evaporites - A Core Workshop, C. Robertson Handford, Robert G. Loucks, Graham R. Davies
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Few examples of ancient continental-sabkha evaporites have been recognized in the geologic record, despite the fact that numerous other continental-type deposits have been described. Furthermore, detailed sedimentological descriptions of Recent continental evaporites are also lacking. Work that has been done (Hardie et al., 1978) indicates that depositional processes and facies characteristics of Recent continental sabkhas are often similar to those of coastal sabkhas. Thus, it is quite possible that ancient continental-sabkha deposits do exist in the geologic record, but have been misidentified as marine in origin.
In light of our limited knowledge of continental sabkha deposits, this report presents some sedimentological data and interpretations of Bristol Dry Lake, California (Fig. 1), a 155 km2 continental-sabkha playa basin filled with at least 300 m of interbedded terrigenous clastics, gypsum, anhydrite, and halite (Bassett et al., 1959). Approximately 1-1/2 weeks of reconnaissance field work, supported by the Texas Bureau of Economic Geology and the U.S. Department of Energy, was conducted during 1979-80. Bristol Dry Lake is well suited for sedimentological studies because there are numerous trenches and pits dug by salt companies across the playa. Many of these are up to 6 m deep and expose intricate details of playa shallow-stratigraphy.