The Feasibility of Locating a Texas Salt Test Facility

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Finley, Robert J.
Ledbetter, Joe O.
Wermund, E. G.

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Differences in the geology of dome salt and bedded salt dictate that data and mining experience gained in one environment will not be fully applicable to the other. A test facility in a salt dome could be mined through a relatively thin section of elastic, a cap rock of evaporite minerals that may contain highly porous zones, and possibly 300 m (1,000 ft) of salt. The salt will probably be quite pure except for a few percent anhydrite, increasing in concentration toward the top of the salt stock (Balk, 1949; Muehlberger, 1959; and Dutton and Kreitler, 1980). Infrequent inclusions of the surrounding sediments may be found in dome salt that has been highly contorted and whose crystals show translational gliding as a result of salt dome emplacement (Muehlberger, 1959; Clabaugh, 1962; and Hofrichter, 1968).

Access to bedded salt will require mining through a sequence of predominantly terrigenous elastics and evaporites. The degree of consolidation, porosity, and permeability of these sediments will vary between horizons. The objective interval will be a required thickness of relatively pure salt. Crystallographic properties, water content, and elastic inclusions will be results of the original depositional environment rather than emplacement of a salt stock.

The feasibility of locating a Salt Test Facility in Texas has been studied and evaluated. Measured parameters are summarized in table 1. For primarily technical reasons, the most feasible Texas sites are the Gyp Hill salt dome in Brooks County or bedded salt in Loving County.


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