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This paper briefly reviews the most important salt deposits of the Middle East. Their stratigraphic and geographic distribution is discussed in relationship to the general geologic history of the area. Recent field studies in Iran have presented new evidence for an Early Cambrian or Proterozoic age of the Hormuz salt. Stable platform conditions on the northeastern shelf of the Arabian Shield and in East Iran favored the development of semiclosed basins with evaporite deposits in Proterozoic (?) time and at repeated intervals in Paleozoic and Mesozoic time, culminating in the Late Jurassic. Their geographic outline is largely governed by old, Precambrian basement trends such as the Oman line and the Qatar line. These trends are essentially north-south and can partly be attributed to a late Precambrian, pre-Hormuz orogeny.

The paleogeographic configuration was drastically changed by Alpine diastrophism which developed the Tertiary lagoon of the Persian Gulf and Mesopotamia and separated off the continental basin of Central Iran with its spectacular salt domes and modern Kawir salt wastes. Present salt deposition is displayed on a grand scale in the Great Kawir of Central Iran.

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