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The discovery of sabkha environments during the 1960's, marked the beginning of Recent evaporite sedimentological studies and their perception as models for facies analysis. However, variation among Recent sabkhas, though recognized by the geologic community, has not been duly addressed, which has resulted in overuse of the Trucial Coast model in comparative sedimentological studies. Knowledge of the dominant physical processes which determine sabkha morphology, and of the sedimentary response to those processes, can lead to a fundamental understanding of a sabkha's origin and of how it differs from other sabkhas. Physical processes thought to be most important (besides evaporation) include those operative under: (1) marine-; (2) fluvial-lacustrine-; and (3) eolian-dominated conditions. Dominance of one or more of these in the proper settings give rise to marine coastal sabkhas, continental playas, and interdune sabkhas. Sedimentary responses to dominant physical processes lead to the development of sabkhas consisting of a combination of either: (1) terrigenous clastics; (2) carbonate-sulfate (anhydrite-gypsum) minerals; or (3) soluble salts (halite, sylvite, polyhalite, etc.). Sediment characterization can also allow discrimination of the range or compositional variety in, for example, coastal sabkhas. Where applied to the stratigraphic record, this classification system may help unravel the sedimentary history of an ancient sabkha system, and a determination of the dominant physical processes that ruled its development. ?? 1981.
Additional Publication Details
A process-sedimentary framework for characterizing recent and ancient sabkhas