Abstract

Large volumes of continental evaporites accumulated within the central Andes during Neogene uplift of the Altiplano-Puna plateau and development of the Andean volcanic arc. Halite and gypsum are dominant minerals, along with local and economically important borates. Playa conditions have existed since ca. 15 Ma; halite and borate deposition has occurred for the past 7 to 8 m.y. Evaporites formed in salar environments (e.g., playa lakes) and are characterized by complex mineral assemblages, occurrence, zonation, and geochemistry. Evaporite deposition was controlled by volcanism, geothermal activity, closed drainage, and climate. These Andean deposits, and their controls, differ from evaporites in other continental and marine environments.

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