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Saline deposits in South America range in age from Cambrian to Recent; they are present in both the mobile Andean belt and in the stable intracratonic basins. Cambrian saline deposits occur in the sub-Andean belt of Bolivia; Pennsylvanian salt is present in the Amazon Basin of Brazil; Permian saline deposits exist in the Andean region of Perú and in the Maranhao Basin of Brazil; Triassic saline deposits appear in south-central Bolivia and northern Argentina; Lower and Upper Jurassic saline deposits occur in the Cordilleran belt from Colombia to northern Chile and Argentina; Lower Cretaceous saline deposits occupy a similar Andean area and also occur in the Sergipe-Alagoas basin of Brazil; Upper Cretaceous and Tertiary saline deposits are present along the sub-Andean belt from Colombia to Argentina.

Recent saline deposits include the great and famous “salares” extending from southern Perú into northern Chile and Argentina; the caliche deposits on the arid western slopes of the Central Andes; and also the numerous “salinas” found mainly along the desertic coasts of Chile and Perú.

Salt diapirs are common along the Andes, especially in Perú, Chile, and Colombia. In Perú, about 30 large Late Tertiary extrusions of salt and gypsum are known, most of them in the Middle Huallaga region. The salt source in the Huallaga diapirs is not well defined; it could be of Permian, Triassic, or Jurassic age. Most of the diapirs are associated with anticlines or occur along major faults. Those which occur farther toward the less-deformed foreland belt are round or oval in ground plan and are not associated with noticeable faulting, e.g., the Tiraco and Pilluana domes, with diameters of 9 and 6 km, respectively. Their extrusion was caused by tangential orogenic stresses, aided by isostatic components.

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