Permian Facies Sequences and Evaporite Depositional Styles, Texas Panhandle
C. Robertson Handford, Randy L. Bassett, 1982. "Permian Facies Sequences and Evaporite Depositional Styles, Texas Panhandle", Depositional and Diagenetic Spectra of Evaporites - A Core Workshop, C. Robertson Handford, Robert G. Loucks, Graham R. Davies
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Permian evaporites, red beds, and carbonates form a thick stratigraphic mosaic of cyclic regressive facies across the Texas Panhandle. Facies record deposition in inner shelf, sabkha, salt pan, saline mud flat, and desert alluvial-eolian environments. Two fundamental styles of evaporite deposition developed and created mud-rich and mud-poor sabkha systems. Extensive, shallow salt pans were typical of mud-poor systems, whereas smaller, less permanent salt pans and wide saline mud flats were characteristic of mud-rich systems. Genetic cycles show that mud-rich facies prograded southward over mud-poor facies and provided terrigenous sediments to shelf-edge and deep marine environments in the Midland Basin.
Numerous Holocene evaporite settings show resemblances to Permian evaporite systems. Comparisons are often striking and, taken as a whole, these modern settings are useful tools for interpreting sedimentary processes and environments in ancient evaporite sequences.
The distribution of clay minerals is environmentally sensitive. Both provenance and sediment-brine interactions were likely causes leading to observed distribution patterns of clay minerals.
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Geologists do not often have an opportunity to examine evaporites, whether in outcrops as badly weathered exposures, or in the subsurface, where evaporites are not as frequently cored as other rock types. Nevertheless, evaporites are important economically (mineral resource, seals for hydrocarbons, disposal sites for radioactive wastes, etc.) and geologists are, by necessity, becoming more aware of their origins. This workshop is intended to increase awareness and provide useful information for comparison to other evaporites, all of which should eventually benefit geologists in their efforts to understand the depositional and diagenetic spectra of evaporites.