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Great Salt Plains and hourglass selenite crystals, Salt Fork of the Arkansas River, northwest Oklahoma

Kenneth S. Johnson
Kenneth S. Johnson
Oklahoma Geological Survey, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma 73019
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January 01, 1988


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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DNAG, Centennial Field Guides

South-Central Section of the Geological Society of America

O. T. Hayward
O. T. Hayward
Geology Department, Baylor University, Waco, Texas 76798
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Geological Society of America
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Publication date:
January 01, 1988




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