Carbonates and Evaporites

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 165–173 | Cite as

Dolomitization in a sulfate-rich environment: Modern example from Salt Flat Sabkha (dried playa lake) in west Texas-New Mexico

  • Mahbub Hussain
  • John K. Warren


Dolomite is a common diagenetic mineral in the evaporitic mudflats (continental sabkhat) of Salt Flat Graben in west Texas. In the Pleistocene the playa depression was much wetter and at times contained a perennial brine lake. Mudflats are the latest style of sedimentation in this evaporite-carbonate depositing playa lake whose near-surface interstitial brines are characterized by a high sulfate content (av.= 21,775 mg/l). Micritic sabkha sediments are highly dolomitized in spite of the high sulfate concentration in the pore water. The whole sequence contains dolomite to a sampled depth of 5 meters with the better ordered, more coarsely crystalline dolomites occurring as Holocene crusts on the mudflat (sabkha) surface. SEM and electron microprobe studies of the dolominitized hard crusts show the crusts are more crystalline than adjacent uncemented micrite and that there is diagenetically altered gypsum in the dolomitized sediments along with pockets of acicular celestite. The occurrence of diagenetic dolomite in a sulfate-rich environment is not in agreement with some previous studies that suggested sulfate ions in circulating pore fluids inhibit dolomitization.


Gypsum Total Dissolve Solid Evaporite Dolomitization Gypsum Crystal 
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Copyright information

© Springer 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mahbub Hussain
    • 1
  • John K. Warren
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of GeologySul Ross State UniversityAlpine
  2. 2.National Centre for Petroleum Geology and GeophysicsAdelaideAustralia

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