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Abstract

The Gulf of Mexico basin is best known for its vast and widespread oil and gas resources. They have been described in the preceding chapter of this volume. The basin, however, also contains important deposits of phosphate, lignite, and sulfur and small deposits of uranium. In addition, salt from several salt domes is produced by underground and solution mining and is used principally as a chemical feedstock for the manufacture of many industrial products. Large volumes of geopressured-geothermal water are also known from the Tertiary sediments of the Gulf of Mexico basin, particularly around its northern margin. It often contains natural gas in solution. This overpressured, gas-bearing hot water may someday be an important source of thermal and kinetic energy; it is now just a gleam in the eye of imaginative energy tacticians.

The phosphate deposits of Florida and southeastern Georgia, the Florida Phosphogenic Province, represent about 75 percent of the total domestic phosphate production, and ranged between 34 and 28 percent of the total world production between 1983 and 1987.

Important lignite deposits, for the most part of Eocene age, are known from the Gulf of Mexico basin. Two-thirds of the lignite is found in Texas, but it occurs also in parts of northeastern Mexico, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama. Modest resources of Upper Cretaceous bituminous coal are found in northeastern Mexico.

Once an important industry, the production of sulfur from the caprocks of some of the many salt domes in the U.S. Gulf Coastal Plain and shallow

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