Mexico′s demographic growth (3.5 percent per year) demands substantially increased food production in the next decades; to a greater or lesser degree this is also true for the rest of the world. Sulfur is essential for the fertilizer industry and is extremely important in general heavy industry as well. The value of the better geological understanding of southeast Mexico′s Salt Basin domes, where cap-rock sulfur deposits are found, is here stressed in view of this element′s weight in the future economic development of the country and in the worldwide fertilizer industry.
Although sulfur has been known to exist in the western part of the southeastern Salt Basin (Figs. 1, 2) since the beginning of this century, exploration on a commercial basis was not undertaken until 1948. Commercial production of sulfur using the Frasch process began in 1955. The Jáltipan dome was drilled by the (independent) Panamerican Sulphur Company in 1955; the San Cristóbal dome (now paid out and abandoned) was worked by Gulf Sulphur Company in 1956; the Amexquite Norte dome (northeast of Salinas) has been worked by Compañía Azufrera Veracruzana since 1956, and the Texistepec Este dome by Compañía Central Minera, S.A. de C.V., which suspended operations temporarily in 1958. Production in the Nopalapa dome, discovered and worked by Compañía Exploradora del Istmo (Texas Gulf Sulphur Company), was also suspended in 1959 owing to internal legal problems but is expected to be resumed.