Great Salt Plains and hourglass selenite crystals, Salt Fork of the Arkansas River, northwest Oklahoma
Kenneth S. Johnson, 1988. "Great Salt Plains and hourglass selenite crystals, Salt Fork of the Arkansas River, northwest Oklahoma", South-Central Section of the Geological Society of America, O. T. Hayward
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The Great Salt Plains comprise about 25 mi2 (64 km2) of flat, barren land, naturally encrusted with salt (halite), along the Salt Fork of the Arkansas River (Fig. 1). The salt plains, which also embrace the area where unique hourglass selenite crystals are currently growing, are almost entirely enclosed within the Great Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge. Located in central Alfalfa County, Oklahoma, the land is about 4 mi (6.4 km) east of Cherokee and just northwest of Jet. Free access by car or bus is permitted at all times during the year to the salt flats in the vicinity of the observation tower on the west (site 1, Fig. 1) and to the dam and state park area in the east (including picnic and camping facilities and cabins). Also, free access by car or bus to the selenite crystal area (site 2, Fig. 1) is permitted through only one gate, which is unlocked from 8 A.M. until 5 P.M. only on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays from April 1 to October 15 each year. The crystal area is about 1 mi (1.6 km) northeast of this gate and can be reached safely by driving along the specified road across the salt flats. Access to other parts of the Great Salt Plains is restricted by fences; quicksand, at scattered locations on the salt flats, makes trespass in nonauthorized areas hazardous. The area is covered by four 7½-minute quadrangle maps: Cherokee S, Cherokee N, Jet, and Manchester SW. For information concerning the
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One of six volumes generated by each GSA section for the Decade of North American Geology (DNAG) project, this Centennial Field Guide contains descriptions of 100 sites or site clusters representing outstanding geologic locations in Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.