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Potash-bearing evaporites in the Danakil area, Ethiopia

James G. Holwerda and Richard W. Hutchinson
Potash-bearing evaporites in the Danakil area, Ethiopia
Economic Geology and the Bulletin of the Society of Economic Geologists (March 1968) 63 (2): 124-150


This Quaternary evaporite succession is little affected by time and burial, and provides unique evidence bearing on problems of the genesis of evaporites in general. At least 3200 feet of halitic evaporites were deposited in a basin formed by subsidence in a rift zone. A shallow barrier of volcano-tectonic origin prevented direct circulation of marine waters, limiting influx to the amount required to balance evaporation. The basin succession, from the base, is marine reef limestones, redbeds, gypsum-anhydrite and halite, and potash-rich strata. The upper potash interval consists of a basal zone rich in kainite, an intermediate carnallite zone, and an uppermost sylvite zone. The first two are considered to be primary, and the sylvite zone to be formed before burial by selective surface leaching of MgCl (sub 2) from the carnallite by meteoric waters. The theoretically predictable kainite zone, absent in most older deposits, may be preserved here because of youth and shallow burial. Absence of the magnesium sulfate layer that should theoretically underlie the kainite zone in this and older deposits is, therefore, probably due to nondeposition rather than later removal, but the reasons are not understood. Mineral assemblages suggest temperatures increasing from 25 degrees C to 55 degrees C.

ISSN: 0361-0128
EISSN: 1554-0774
Serial Title: Economic Geology and the Bulletin of the Society of Economic Geologists
Serial Volume: 63
Serial Issue: 2
Title: Potash-bearing evaporites in the Danakil area, Ethiopia
Pages: 124-150
Published: 196803
Text Language: English
Publisher: Economic Geology Publishing Company, Lancaster, PA, United States
Accession Number: 1968-012759
Categories: Economic geology, general
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. (incl. sketch maps)
N03°25'00" - N18°00'00", E33°00'00" - E48°00'00"
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from Bibliography and Index of Geology Exclusive of North America, Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 1968
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