Williston Basin potash

Region Central, North Central
Mineral systems
Deposit types
Critical minerals
Other minerals

Information leading to the delineation of this focus area

Basis for focus area Extent of the southernmost part of four overlapping permissive tract for potash in the Williston Basin in the United States: Patience Lake, Belle Plain3, White Bear, and Esterhazy (Orris and others, 2014).
Identified resources Identified resources of potash.
Production Production to the north in Canadian part of the Williston Basin.
Status Five potash exploration wells were drilled in North Dakota between 1964 and 2010. Regional exploration studies for sylvinite and carnallite in North Dakota part of the basin circa 2010-2012 including 1 drillhole (Dakota Salts, Sirius Minerals Plc) (Wetzel, 2012).
Estimated resources Estimated 50 billion tons of potash in the Devonian Prairie Formation of North Dakota (Anderson and Swinehart, 1979a, b; Murphy, 2020).
Geologic maps Kruger (2019), scale 1:600,000; Vuke and others (2007), scale 1:500,000.
Geophysical data Inadequate aeromagnetic and aeroradiometric coverage.
Favorable rocks and structures Devonian Prairie Formation.
Deposits Three potash beds in the Prairie Formation are the Esterhazy, Belle Plaine and the Mountrial Members (Anderson and Swinehart, 1979a,b). The potash deposits in the Williston Basin of North Dakota are extensions of the potash deposits currently being mined in Canada.
Evidence from mineral occurrences Anderson and Swinehart (1979a, b).
Geochemical evidence Limited amount of core sample analyses from potash test wells.
Geophysical evidence No data.
Evidence from other sources No data.
Comments North Dakota Geological Survey is currently mapping K2O and revising resource estimates.
Cover thickness and description Potash deposits in North Dakota occur at depths exceeding 1 km to 3 km.
Authors Jane M. Hammarstrom, Ned Kruger, Ed Murphy, Levi Moxness.
New data needs Update resource estimate (in process by NDGS).
Geologic mapping and modeling needs No surficial geologic mapping needed; isopach maps of potash intervals would be useful.
Geophysical survey and modeling needs Radiometric and electromagnetic data needed.
Digital elevation data needs Lidar coverage variable, but not required (concealed resource).