Article

Carbonates and Evaporites

, 10:148

First online:

The Kaskaskia paleokarst of the northern Rocky Mountains and Black Hills, northwestern U.S.A.

  • Arthur N. PalmerAffiliated withDepartment of Earth Sciences, State University of New York
  • , Margaret V. PalmerAffiliated withDepartment of Earth Sciences, State University of New York

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Abstract

The Kaskaskia paleokarst, part of the Mississippian-Pennsylvanian unconformity in North America, is typified by sink-holes, fissures, and dissolution caves at and near the top of the Kaskaskia Sequence (Madison Limestone and equivalents) and is covered by basal Absaroka siliciclastics (Chesterian to Morrowan). In the Rocky Mountains and Black Hills of the northwestern U.S.A. it post dates earlier features produced by sulfate-carbonate interactions, including breccias, dissolution voids, bedrock alteration, and mineralization. Both the paleokarst and earlier features have been intersected by post-Laramide caves. Ore deposits, aquifers, and petroleum reservoirs in the region are also concentrated along both the paleokarst horizons and earlier sulfate-related features. Each phase of karst modified and preferentially followed the zones of porosity and structural weakness left by earlier phases, producing an interrelated complex of now-relict features. All should be considered together to explain the present aspect of the paleokarst.