Abstract

Mining operations in the Permian Salado Formation for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) reveal filled pits in halite beds which are interpreted as synsedimentary dissolution features. The pits range from a few centimeters to as much as 1 m wide and 1 m deep, and they clearly truncate thin, underlying beds. Halite hopper crystals and possible chevron halite structures occurring in the pits and continuous, undeformed bedding in overlying units demonstrate that the pits formed and filled before deposition of the overlying unit. Pseudomorphs of halite after gypsum swallow-tail crystals are part of the evidence that the dissolution pits formed in shallow water.

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